My mentor, Jim Rohn, often spoke about having a personal philosophy. What he meant was to be intentional and have a plan for how you would live in each area of your life. For example, among others, we should have a financial philosophy, a relationship philosophy, and first and foremost a spiritual philosophy. When it comes to being a disciple of Jesus, the spiritual philosophy is what must drive all others.
If we mess this one up, we will not recover. But if we get it right, we can overcome any other failure or tragedy in life. What’s your personal philosophy when it comes to following Jesus? Have you ever thought about it?
Most I’ve encountered have no idea what a spiritual philosophy is much less have one of their own. As a result, they drift through their lives making decisions in the moment, often encumbered by stress, panic, or convenience. Without a game plan going in, we are destined to a life of inconsistency; a life of mediocrity. We’ll win some and lose some. And by the looks of things, we’re okay with that. We shouldn’t be. If I’m convinced of anything beyond the eternal truth of Jesus, it is that His followers should do everything with the utmost excellence (Colossians 3:23). Not Inconsistency. Not mediocrity. Excellence. The challenge then is to move from our current state to the desired state of excellence.
The key to acting with excellence, I believe, is to have a game plan or philosophy. Your spiritual philosophy would contain your guiding principles and your non-negotiables. Fortunately, for followers of Christ, we don’t have to start from scratch. Jesus outlined everything we need to develop our spiritual philosophy. In fact, the simplest yet perhaps most effective philosophy was clearly stated by Jesus: Love the Lord with all your heart, strength, soul, and mind. And love everyone else as you love Christ (Matthew 22:37-40). If that was the extent of your philosophy, it would be enough. Every situation, circumstance, and decision could be run through the filter of that philosophy to guide you into the proper next action.
Still, it can be helpful to flesh out some additional specifics. For example, following along with the commands of Christ, your non-negotiables might include things like “I will keep myself sexually pure both in action and in thought (Matthew 5:27-30)”, “I will be truthful in every interaction, even when I might suffer shame or embarrassment (Matthew 5:37)”, and “I will not hold grudges and forgive others whether they deserve it or not (Luke 17:3-4)”.
When we determine beforehand how we will act in a variety of given circumstances, we will be prepared to act in a way that honors God when we face them in real life. It cannot be overstated how much preparation will determine your success in spiritual battles. Ask God to help you develop your personal philosophy in how you will live for Him. All the salient points are there in the teachings of Christ, but there is something powerful that happens when we take His commands and personalize them for our own lives. Write down how you will choose to live and react to the situations Satan will throw your way. Develop your own personal philosophy grounded firmly in the words of Christ, and then practice living it every day.