You always come across a well-known motto as a groundbreaking piece of wisdom. Smart-sounding sayings that, if followed, promise happiness, success and a fulfilling life. The philosophical signposts are to pay attention to your inner voice, follow your own heart and believe in yourself.
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Success through life wisdom?
Success seminars and instructions for being happy are among the best-selling literature. Often written by those who had previously completed extensive sales training and in this way gained their “expertise” on the topic of “life support”. The principles used for this purpose are those that are presented to every social media user almost every day for them to read and think about. “Follow your heart” and “believe in yourself” are among the standards. “Following your inner voice” and thus achieving a completely fulfilled life of happiness and contentment with somnambulistic security are the goals promised. In times of growing uncertainty and increasing fears, this is a promising area when it comes to monetary matters.
Mixtures with the Gospel
Unfortunately, such phrases can also be heard and read in evangelical church circles. This particularly concerns the so-called charismatic and Pentecostal orientation. Their “gospel” describes predominantly a faith based on feelings. The focus is on the Holy Spirit, whose voice can be heard and felt in the heart. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate to trust in your own heart, as it is ultimately filled with the Holy Spirit.
This can even go so far that this “spirit filling” empowers you to keep the devil away and drive out demons. The practice of speaking in tongues, i.e. the completely incomprehensible babbling, is considered evidence of being filled by the Holy Spirit (Info). Any message heard from the “inner voice” can therefore only be the right path, according to the roughly defined framework of these Pentecostal and Charismatic communities. They stagger over a stony path with their hands raised and their gaze directed upwards. They therefore fall automatically.
The spirits of the “wisdom of life”
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,” John admonished (1 John 4:1). Such a whispering spirit does not necessarily have to come from outside, but also one’s own inspiration, “the inner voice”, is not immune to illuminations that do not really lead those affected on the right path. This is especially true when various “wisdom sayings” for a better life are constantly being poured in and such messages are also a latent component of many TV and cinema hams.
A comparison with the gospel
The following are some “wisdom instructions” that come along regularly in some form. Well-sounding sayings for the “simple way” to more happiness and fulfillment in life. These signposts are regularly directly opposite the gospel. This should be of particular concern to those who believe that they are walking the path of the Gospel.
“Follow your heart”
The call to follow your own heart is one of the most frequently read and heard life tips. These instructions encourage you to follow your own inner voice, your feeling (“gut feeling”) and thus align your life and decisions. The Bible describes the state of the human heart in a single verse, Jeremiah 17:9:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?“
Deceptive and malicious. This statement does not automatically label the person as a wandering “Hannibal Lecter”. This is just as untrue as the adversary appears as a horned monster, with bared teeth and a trident in his hand. After all, that would be too obvious and therefore too easy to recognize. Rather, the danger lies in unrecognized misconduct. This may not look all that spectacular.
But if this deviation from God’s statutes is even perceived as pleasant, the adversary has achieved his goal. One’s heart says, “It is good,” but in fact it is a violation of one of God’s statutes. Above all, silent and unspectacular, the perfect deception and seduction.
“Be true to yourself”
This saying is said to have been said by the famous English playwright William Shakespeare (could also have been Francis Bacon): “This above all else: Be true to yourself!” Other life experts recommend being true to yourself in order to understand yourself better. This is the only way to achieve “the highest”. A wisdom of life that doesn’t just miss the gospel, but rather moves away from it to the maximum.
Self-discovery and loyalty to one’s own character, which one can no more change than the leopard can adjust its spots (Jeremiah 13:23), is completely contrary to the call of the Gospel, Matthew 16:24:
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.“
Self-denial has nothing to do with self-castigation. The Roman Catholic Church brought forth many brotherhoods that believe that they walk around in the areas with spiked belts and other tormentors on their bodies for purification. Self-denial is the renunciation of following one’s “own self”, but rather giving it up in order to follow Jesus Christ. This automatically brings you into conflict with the world’s value system and this usually leads to a separate position. It is therefore no coincidence that individualism has already been described as a “disease”. (Info).
“Believe in yourself”
The call to believe in yourself is often associated with “self-confidence training.” You can assert yourself, stand up for yourself and therefore confidently pursue your goals in order to reach higher spheres. The promise is that believing in yourself will lead to more success.
Here the question arose as to what actually defines one’s own self and which one should believe. Is it the “inner voice” that tells you what you are, is it your gut feeling, your heart or your mind? There is also the question of what standard one’s own goals are based on and how one’s own self is positioned in this regard. What should the trained self-confidence be used for? Jesus Christ has shown the very narrow but also only way, John 14:6:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.“
If the goal for which belief in one’s own self is to be trained deviates from this, the shipwreck to be suffered is already inevitable. These generally include the most sought-after highly valued assets in this society. But for what? For recognition? But the Gospel confronts this with clear words, James 4:4:
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.“
Belief in one’s own self and this as a driving force for one’s lifestyle can therefore almost only concern the climb up the “career ladder” (“actually hamster wheel”) for social recognition and the self-esteem nurtured from it. However, the “efforts” for faith should be focused on something completely different for much more sustainability. John 5:24:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.“
“Live your truth”
Hardly any other area has been as confused as truth in recent decades. Even truths that have been recognized and recognized over thousands of years have now been put into perspective. It is a “question of perspective” and therefore every person has “his or her own truth,” according to the scholastics’ favorite wisdom. This is the only way people are able to discover themselves and exploit their maximum potential through complete self-development. The realization of who you “really are”, the corresponding orientation of your lifestyle, is the “most honest version” of yourself.
The result of this “wisdom of life” can be easily observed today in the colorful “rainbow hustle and bustle”. White is seen as black and vice versa. Statements of reality that deviate from this are branded as “hate language” and socially ostracized. If a “new truth” is defined (who actually and with what aim?), then this fiction is adopted in an instant. Nothing is absolutely valid anymore, everything is relative. Depending on your sense of your own personal truth.
The Truth of the Gospel
Jesus Christ emphasized that the knowledge and acceptance of the truth means freedom, John 8:31-32:
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.“
Conversely, this inevitably means that the acceptance of a purely fictitious truth, i.e. ultimately a lie, means lack of freedom. You are therefore the slave of the person who formulated and implemented this “alternative truth”.
The Bible describes in clear terms what the truth is (Info). The Word is truth (John 17:17), Jesus Christ is truth (John 14:6), and the law is truth (Psalm 119:142). This is absolute, belongs to the eternal gospel and is therefore considered the unshakable standard even in the “wildest times”.
A prime example “taken from life”
Such wisdom, which aims to be a guide to a happy and fulfilled life, but which could correspond to the formulations of an Alice Ann Bailey and an Aleister Crowley, can be encountered even in places where one would not have expected them. An inconspicuous blackboard in a restaurant in socialist Laos.
“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over anlyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often. Getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.“
Check the spirits!
As tasty, philosophical and wise as such sayings, fortune prophets and life coaches may sound, their philosophies must be examined. This is particularly true for your own, sweetly singing “catchy tune”. The test requires a standard, a touchstone, and this can only be the gospel. The only constant within an increasingly dynamic world with ever-changing moral dictates. “The everlasting gospel,” as in Revelation 14:6, and this describes its immutability. This alone is already given by the immutability of God and also His immutable justice.
It is not the writing that has to be measured against the spirit of the times, but rather the spirit of the times against the writing. The “new reality of life” is a catchphrase used in an inflationary way to justify a sometimes adventurous interpretation of the Gospel. But you simply have to reckon with such intellectual-sounding academic ideas, because the blind are led by the blind.
If the mediating spirit, whether from an outside third party or one’s own “inner voice”, clashes with the gospel, then it cannot possibly be the Holy Spirit. It is completely impossible that a human-driven “flying change” of morals and ethics can be the will of God if these are directed against His statutes.
At this point, the ideas of Roman Catholic social teaching come to the fore. Wrapped up in Christian garb, but still in open rebellion against God’s will (Info).
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
1 Corinthians 3:19
Bible verses from King James Version