The World of Ideas

A number of years ago I read a book titled, The Intellectual World of C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath. He tells us one of the reasons Lewis was so intellectually effective was that he fully immersed himself in the world of ideas, those that were both ancient and modern. When you add the wisdom he gained from his Christian perspective, you can understand his incredible insight into life.

I find the phrase, “the world of ideas” to be quite intriguing. We all enter this world and begin to try to make sense out of life. This explains why young children have a real curiosity about life and why they are always asking questions.

As we grow older we begin to develop certain ideas about how life works. It is this set of ideas that governs our thinking and tells us what the world is like and how we should live in it. We all must remember, ideas have consequences.

Dr. Dallas Willard says this about our ideas:

Our ideas are the assumptions we have about reality. They are the ways we think about and interpret life. They are so pervasive and essential to how we think about and approach life that we often do not even know they are there or understand when and how they are at work. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for most people to recognize which ideas are governing their lives at any given time.

Willard goes on to say:

Why do people find their lives in chaos and their souls running amuck? One of the primary reasons is that they are blinded by false ideas, distorted images, and misinformation, so that their souls cannot find its way into a life of consistent truth and a harmonious pursuit of what is good. They become locked in a self-destructive struggle with themselves and with all that is around them. The most prominent features in their lives are unfulfilled desires and poisoned relationships.

Then Willard says so often when he counsels them, he is stunned by the reasons people give for clinging to their false beliefs.

There are two words in the Bible used often to describe a person whose life is guided by “false ideas, distorted images, and misinformation.”

The first word is “lost.” When you are lost you do not know where you are going. The father of the wayward prodigal son in Luke 15 describes the son as being lost. Most of us do not know we are lost, that is until the reality of life sets in and we experience hardship and pain.

The second word used to describe this condition is to live in the darkness. In John 12:35, Jesus tells us    “. . . he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.” In John 11:10 says those who walk in darkness “stumble, for they have no light.”

So if you feel lost in this vast and complicated world that we live in, know that the Bible serves as a map to help you negotiate the terrain of life. It will enable you to know where you are going and how to get where you want to go.

And if you are stumbling in the darkness and have fallen, know that Jesus is declaring to us all that “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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