What Impact do my Beliefs have on the Quality of my Life? (Part 3) #6
David, the greatest king Israel has ever known, once found himself in a situation where, despite all his moral principles, he still found himself in doubt, wondering how to know the right thing to do. He was pursued by Saul, who was king of Israel at that time, and wanted to kill him because he felt his kingship was in danger. Saul knew that David was to be Israel’s next king, and he didn’t want him to be. That’s why he decided to make David die. And it came to pass one day, while Saul was hunting for David, that Saul went into a cave, and slept there, not knowing that David and his men were in the cave. At some point, David comes out of hiding and sees Saul at his mercy. His men then advised him to kill him, so that his life would stop resembling that of an innocent fugitive (1).
If you were David, what would you have done? You’re looking at someone who wants you dead, and who has made your life a living hell, since now you’re going from hiding place to hiding place, homeless. So you are living a hell on earth, not knowing if it is today that you will finally be caught and killed. And it’s at a time like this, that you meet the person because of whom you’re living this hell. You know that if this person dies, all your problems will be solved. What will you do?
David is one who takes the Bible as the basis for his conscience, and his servants say to him, “This is the day that the Lord says to you, ‘I have delivered your enemy into your hands; treat him as it pleases you (2). In other words, killing him is the right thing to do now. But on the other hand, David also knows that God says in the same Bible: Thou shalt not kill (3). What do you do when you find yourself in a situation like this? A situation where you are in doubt as to what is right or wrong?
Fixed or flickering?
The only way to get out of such situations, is to have a stable source, which we consider as the source of our consciousness. Unfortunately, many people do not have a stable source of consciousness, which is why they are constantly changing their actions — they cannot be trusted. If you get your moral sense from fashion, and from what is popular, you will constantly change your speeches, and you will not be perceived as a man or a woman of character. You notice this a lot nowadays: you meet people who simply follow the wind and adapt their speeches to it. Let us take the example of a subject such as homosexuality. Today you will meet people who were against it at first, and who, after hearing another story on the subject, change their minds and are now pro-homosexual. The same goes for abortion. I know that these are sensitive subjects, but they are examples of what happens when it is fashion or what is popular, that decides what is considered good and what is considered bad. So much so that fashion is changing, our convictions too will continue to change constantly. Is that who you want to be? A person with no convictions?
To face this dilemma, David, who took the Holy Scriptures as the basis of his conscience, referred to them and remembered the passage where God says: Touch not my anointed ones (4), and Saul is an anointed one of God, so David understood that killing him would be an evil and not a good thing.
Having a written and stable source for one’s conscience allows us not to act under the effect of emotion but on the basis of the scriptures, at the moment when we are faced with a dilemma. It also allows people to trust you, because they know what you believe in, what you can do, and what you can’t do. The fact that the Bible has been the same for millennia and continues to be true even today, is an additional source of confidence because in all these years many different popular fashions and ideas have come and gone, but the words of the Bible remain the same and never become old-fashioned or obsolete. That’s why Jesus said:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (5).
God knew that many ideas and fashions would come into this world, so He sent a stable source, which does not change, allowing us not to waver in times of making a choice.
Who are you listening to?
During his years in prison, Adolphe Hitler met a philosopher who changed his way of seeing things, his beliefs. It was this philosopher who introduced him to these ideas of anti-Semitism. So, this philosopher wrote Hitler’s conscience, making him believe that killing Jews was a good thing. So, we have to be very selective about the people we are used to listening to, because they shape our beliefs. That’s why the wise Solomon also advises us:
Guard your heart more than anything else, for from it come the sources of life (6).
If you analyze a word, you will realize that what is commonly called word is actually a thought, expressed orally. In other words, you may have an idea in your head, but no one will know it if you don’t put it into words. An idea is therefore a silent word, and a word is an expressed idea. In other words, every time you listen to people’s words or read people’s writings, you are actually receiving their ideas, their thoughts. So, it’s crucial that you choose carefully the people you often listen to or read, because the thoughts you receive shape your beliefs, as this philosopher did with Hitler — and we all know the consequences.
However, if you meet someone who communicates ideas that are true, it can radically change your life and the lives of your loved ones in a positive way. As you read the stories of this blog, if you notice that the quality of your life is improving, we will have reached our goal.
The impact of our beliefs on our priorities
Have you ever met a poor believer who justifies his financial situation by the fact that he will go to heaven?
By the way, here’s what’s going on in his brain. Our brains receive so much information a day, and at the same time, that it would be difficult to process it all at the same time. So, our brains were designed to prioritize things, and that makes all the difference in our choices. By the way, when we have to choose between two things, our brain automatically checks which one is the priority and drops the other. In the case of our example above, the brain of the believer who mistakenly believes that the rich won’t go to Heaven will unconsciously start to be repulsive about any opportunity that could make him rich, because for any believer, the number one priority is to go to Heaven. Wealth will therefore be perceived by him as an enemy to his number one priority, and will unconsciously be discarded.
Analyze your beliefs carefully, and you will realize how much they influence your priorities, what you choose to do, and what you choose to ignore.
A child who believes that education is not going to help him or her succeed in life will not make education a priority. And a child who believes that education is the ultimate means to help him or her succeed will even be willing to pull all-nighters and refuse to go to parties with friends when he is writing, because he or she will perceive those things as enemies to his or her ultimate goal: to succeed in school in order to succeed in life.
When we have a top priority, anything we perceive as being in the way of achieving that top priority goal is set aside.
Our beliefs have a greater influence on our lives than we believe, so let’s be very careful what we believe.
Question : Do you have something you believe in today (good or bad belief), just because you met a certain person in your life, and they communicated that belief to you?
If you know someone who can be helped by this story, please feel free to share it with them.
(1) 1 Samuel 24: 3
(2) 1 Samuel 24: 4
(3) Exodus 20:13
(4) 1 Chronicles 16:22
(5) Matthew 24:35
(6) Proverbs 4:23