Reality Is Determined by Philosophy (Newsletter 3-9)





Reality Is Determined by Philosophy by Eugene Wilson

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines philosophy as “a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live.” Oxford Dictionary states philosophies are “theories or attitudes held by a person or organization that act as guiding principles for behavior.” An example of a philosophy is, “Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed.” This is a concept by which some people choose how to live.

A person’s philosophy has consequences. The set of ideas by which a person chooses to live or function influences what a person becomes. Thus, much of a person’s future is shaped by his or her philosophy long before those thoughts become a tangible part of reality.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Self-fulfilling prophecies are philosophies that help to shape the destiny of people. Self-fulfilling prophecies, which are often negative in nature, are ideas that become a reality because someone believes in them and acts in ways that increase the possibility of the ideas becoming a reality. Negative self-fulfilling prophecies are erroneous philosophies that impact a person’s destiny.

A biblical example of negative self-fulfilling prophecies is the children of Israel’s failure to enter the Promised Land. Their philosophy, in which they saw themselves as grasshoppers, kept them from possessing the land that God had already given them. Because they saw themselves as grasshoppers the children of Israel acted in ways of grasshoppers. The reality was, from God’s perspective, they were much greater than grasshoppers. But the children of Israel did not see reality from God’s perspective. Subsequently, they were confined to a reality that was based on their perspective. Their philosophy impacted their destiny.

What Is Your Philosophy?

The actions of a person reveal his or her philosophies. What a person does flows out of his or her thinking. Show me a person’s philosophies and I will show you a person’s future. Destiny is not something that occurs through happenstance as much as it is something a person helps to shape through the set of ideas by which a person functions.

How do you see yourself? What is your philosophy? Do you see yourself as lacking? Do you function from a philosophy of scarcity? Do you have a small view of yourself? Do you see yourself as insignificant and unimportant? Do you tend to focus on your shortcomings and difficulties? Are you satisfied with average? Are you governed by the desire for self-preservation? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have a wrong set of ideas about how to live.

On the other hand, if you believe that with God all things are possible; if you give beyond what seems reasonable when God asks you to; if you forgive others when others do nothing to deserve it; if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone when God speaks to you to do something you are uncomfortable doing; if you trust Him when nothing makes sense; you have the right philosophy.

Scripture and Philosophies

Scripture repeatedly addresses the importance of a person’s thinking. Paul wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV). Not being conformed to this world is to disallow the philosophies and ways of thinking of this world to become one’s thought patterns and philosophies. Instead, Paul called for a renewing of the mind. The need to think the right way is paramount. A person’s thinking, his or her philosophies, impacts a person’s destiny.

In Philippians 4, Paul addressed the importance of rejoicing always, of being gentle, of not being anxious, of praying about everything, and maintained that by doing such things the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NKJV). Paul continued in the next verse,

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.

It appears as if Paul is advocating that rejoicing, gentleness, contentment, and prayer produce peace, but if a person does not have the right thinking, or right philosophies, he or she will fail to sustain peace. Rejoicing and prayer alone are not enough; a person must change his or her thinking. Philosophies matter. What a person thinks, his or her set of ideas about how to live, impacts a person’s destiny. Thus, as Paul said, “Think on these things.”

Additionally, in I Peter 1: 13, Peter said, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” In other words, don’t allow your mind to run rampant. Instead, bring it under control. Gird it up. Prepare for what is getting ready to happen. Why? Because philosophies impact destinies.

Reality Is Determined by Philosophy

Faith does not deny reality; however, what we may think is reality is not always reality. The fact is, the reality you choose to live in is determined by what philosophy you choose to believe in. It’s not your circumstances that determine your future as much as it is your thinking. The reason some people never become what God meant for them to be is not because of what they have experienced in life; instead, it has everything to do with their philosophies and perspectives of life.

Eugene Wilson is an ordained minister, leadership consultant, and coach specializing in church leadership. He and his wife, have two children.