One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in the book of Daniel 1:17. “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” These young men had been taken captive by a foreign king, brought into a life that was radically different than anything they had ever experienced, far away from their families and exposed to a culture that was in complete opposition to everything they had ever been taught.
Every person has a worldview, a lens through which they perceive life.- Karlet Muster
These men had some choices to make. Would they become angry and depressed at their situation, would they take their situation as a way to try things they had never tried before or would they continue to trust God and believe everything they had learned about Him and continue to follow His ways? These four young men were only a few among many who had been chosen by the king to be trained and brought in to serve in His palace. Can you imagine that? All of the sudden from one day to the next, you are in a place of influence, surrounded by wealth and luxury given every opportunity to succeed but you have to abandon everything you were taught about how God wanted you to live.
Fortunately, we do know the story and how they chose to live a radical lifestyle of fasting and prayer even in the face of opposition and persecution. We also know the amazing miracles God performed on their behalf. But, I want us to focus on verse 17 for a moment, to look in the context of, “What it will take for us engage with influence in the secular culture that we live in, culture that offers us many opportunities but asks us to let go of the ways of God in order to succeed?”
When I was in high school I was in a philosophy class in which we were asked to explain and defend our position on the origin of life. We were then separated into groups according to beliefs and each group had to choose a representative that would be their spokesperson. I of course was a part of the creation group and because I was the most outspoken about my beliefs I was chosen to be the one who presented to the whole class. When the day came I presented our position calmly and confidently and then I went to take my seat.
What followed was a whirlwind of counter arguments and even personal attacks against me that sent me to my corner feeling defeated and very much dejected. I made a subconscious choice that day that I would follow God but I would not try engage with the culture around me in explaining or defending the gospel. Some years later God brought that choice to my awareness and challenged my decision and asked me to engage with the culture and “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks me to give a reason for the hope that I have.” (1 Peter 3:15) This verse is one of the main verses that have brought forth the ministry of Apologetics.
Apologetics comes from the Greek word Apologia that means a reasoned defense, a thought out response. It implies effort of thought and time spent understanding what you claim you believe. It means that you have prayerfully considered, applied, understood, lived it and are able to communicate it to the world in a powerful and coherent manner. The word coherent means systematic, logical consistency.
The Bible says that we have the mind of Christ, which is the ability to think, reason, and process life the way He does. We tend to separate things of heaven and things earth and so we believe that spiritual knowledge is not always relevant to our culture, however Colossians 1:20 says that “He reconciled all things to Himself, whether things on earth and things in heaven” so that only in Him can all of life be made coherent. Our lives only make sense when seen through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. That should be our lens, our worldview.
Every person has a worldview, a lens through which they perceive life. Our lenses are made up of beliefs, experiences and attitudes and they filter information. I remember going through a challenging situation and feeling confused and frustrated and asking myself, “What do I believe about this?” Right then I heard the Holy Spirit say, “You don’t need to wonder what you believe about this you just need to know what I think. “ Peace flooded my heart and immediately I went to search the Scriptures to see what He thought about my situation.
Daniel and his friends had a worldview that had been shaped by a Hebrew mindset that believed in the radical worship, devotion and obedience to God. When they were confronted with a culture that was in complete opposition to what they knew to be true they didn’t seek to become relevant by changing their lifestyle to fit in with the culture of the palace. They chose to be heavenly minded and live lives that were pleasing to God and in turn God reconciled all things so that they were given everything that they needed to influence their culture accordingly. God knows what knowledge and information you need to excel in the sphere of influence He has called you to. You just need to be fully persuaded the “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” and fully committed to living a life of radical worship, obedience and devotion.
God knows what knowledge and information you need to excel in the sphere of influence He has called you to.- Karlet Muster
He will lead and guide you, He will equip and prepare you, He will train and coach you, He will bless you with every spiritual blessing and lavish you with His grace with all wisdom and understanding so that the knowledge of His glory may fill the earth.