What forms your belief system? It is important to understand the traits that define our beliefs so we can be empowered to change the beliefs that are holding us back.
We will start with experiences. Everyone has unique experiences, and each of us handles life, pain, and experiences differently. I have seen siblings raised in the same house handle dysfunction with totally different perspectives.
Our experiences undeniably shape our beliefs and doubts. Some see the glass as half full and others see half empty. Life throws experiences of trauma, divorce, abuse, fear, poverty, tragedy, and loss our way far too often. These unfortunate things have significant effects on our belief system. Experiencing loss does not only mean losing loved ones; it can be the loss of a dream, marriage, etc. These losses occur in most of our lives, and no one is exempt from negative experiences.
The other side of the coin is a life of bliss, little or no negativity, no tragedy, and the security of loving parents.
Both poverty and prosperity have their challenges and problems.
Life is not easy for anyone, especially those dealing with constant negativity. The cup is genuinely half empty for some-hope seems far away.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12, NKJV)
Our hearts become sick when hope is deferred or lost. A barrage of negative experiences, decisions, and beliefs will affect our self-worth and outlook on life. Negative views developed during childhood are difficult to remove and change.
Jayne Morgan Kidd says, “most information regarding brain development indicates that the human brain is not fully developed until somewhere between the mid-’20s to 30 years of age. Think about it. During childhood, when we make these decisions, our brains are incapable of making rational decisions or interpretations about someone’s behavior or situations encountered; yet in these tender years is exactly when we are developing our beliefs about who we are and what we deserve.
This is the reason that spiritual training is vital. Biblical faith is key to our spiritual formation and offsets the negatives of life. When we have faith in God, we view circumstances through a lens of hope.
The belief that God can help will determine how we handle difficult experiences.
This leads us to knowledge.
Knowledge forms our beliefs. What we know and what we don’t know creates ignorance or progressive learning.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6a, NKJV)
Notice, we are destroyed for lack of knowledge. What we don’t know can hurt us. For instance, is God good or not good? Can God do miracles? What we believe about these questions will affect our beliefs and actions. Both knowledge and a lack of knowledge form our beliefs.
This is why it is necessary to pursue knowledge with equity and that builds character, trust and nobility.
You can find a sandwich in a dumpster but is it worth the search? No. There is also forms of knowledge that are not worth pursuing. Therefore it is imperative that we choose wisely where we spend our time.
Environments also form our belief systems, and positive environments establish a positive mindset. A positive environment includes love, hope, and faith.
Love is the greatest of the three, and is the primary element in raising a healthy family.
The child that is raised in a Christian home receives Godly values. The value of faith alone is priceless. Faith is constant hope when life is out of control, and faith is always positive because faith believes that nothing is impossible.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)
Faith is the agent that counteracts toxic environments. A negative culture feeds toxic hopelessness, blame-shifting, and excuses.
Life is better when we believe the cup is full and life has endless possibilities.
An anonymous source coined, “show me your friends, and I will show you your future.” This quote ranks as one of the best quotes ever, and the quote is valid.
Psychology Today notes, “many health-conscious people don’t realize that the quality of their relationships can be just as toxic to their health as fast food….” In America, there’s a tendency to treat physical problems as separate from mental ones, but a little digging reveals this to be untrue.
We are the sum total of the people we spend our time with. The people you hang with form our belief systems. The Bible says, Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (I Corinthians 15:33, NKJV)
Therefore, choose wise friends.
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass it on. For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. (Proverbs 4:14–17, ESV)
That is why it is vital to align yourself with people who match your destiny, not your history. When we hang out with people of faith we learn how to live by faith. People of faith are not easily shaken — they trust God with their struggles. People of faith believe that God can do anything. People without faith are often confused about life and are seeking answers to life.
G. K. Chesterton said, “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything.”
The four ways beliefs are formed are; experiences, knowledge, environments, and relationships.
Take a look at these four areas and determine where you can make changes that enhance your spiritual growth.
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