Self Fulfilling Prophecy


There is such a thing in political thought called the ‘self fulfilling prophecy. The idea is that if you say something long enough and often enough it will eventually come true because people believe it to be a fact.

Example: Let’s say the economy is going really good. The media and the opposition party to the one in power starts talking about the coming correction, or coming down turn or the coming recession. If they keep saying it and broadcasting it long enough, the American people will get it in their heads this is going to happen and thus they quit spending and start saving their money. The economy will, sooner or later, feel the impact of this, depending on how many people follow this thought and bang.. there you have it, a recession.

The Business Dictionary defines it this way:

self-fulfilling prophecy

Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person’s behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.

An employer who, for example, expects the employees to be disloyal and shirkers, will likely treat them in a way that will elicit the very response he or she expects.

In ‘The Urban Dictionary’ we find this definition:

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Positive or negative expectations about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a persons behavior toward them in a manner that he or she (unknowingly) creates situations in which those expectations are fulfilled.

In other words, causing something to happen by believing it will come true

We hear this used in our everyday life so often we have become accustomed to it. For instance, someone talking about the ‘extended warranty’ purchase stating that ‘if I don’t purchase it, the day after the warranty runs out it will break.’ Now saying that once is not going to do anything. But the continual saying it sets up an expectation and the actual event becomes more and more probable for a variety of reasons.

Have you ever woken up and just knew it was going to be a bad day? Sure enough, you stub your toe, people at work seem to be in a bad mood, and negative things just seem to happen. If so, you were likely experiencing a self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy is when a person unknowingly causes a prediction to come true, due to the simple fact that he or she expects it to come true.

In other words, an expectation about a subject, such as a person or event, can affect our behavior towards that subject, which causes the expectation to be realized. For example, a high school volleyball coach expects freshmen to be less skilled, so she does not put them in to play very often. When she does put them in, they are rusty and don’t do well, thereby fulfilling her expectations.” From article Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in Psychology: Definition & Examples

The term “self-fulfilling prophecy” (SFP) was coined in 1948 by Robert Merton to describe “a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true” (Merton 1968: 477).

From the world’s point of view the idea of a ‘false’ definition is the only one they can get their minds around, though they use positive definitions that are not evident at the moment to change circumstances.

Example: If you walk into your house and the air conditioning has been off and the temperature is 90 degrees in there, according to the world and science, you should not use a ‘false definition’ to try to achieve a more comfortable results. But instead, you go over to the thermostat that gives a temperature reading of 90 degrees and you set the ‘set point’, the desired results, to a more comfortable temperature of say, 75 degrees. This causes the unit to run and lower the temperature. This is form of ‘self fulfilling prophecy’.

Another example is, let’s say you want to watch a TV program that comes on at 2:00 am. The problem is you want to sleep. In the natural, you either have to stay up or not see your program. However, by inserting the DVR you have in the line and programming it for that particular time and channel, you capture the program and are able to watch it at your leisure on your schedule. That is a form of the self fulfilling prophecy of ‘I am going to watch xxxx program’.

In both of these examples, by taking measures to bring about that which is not evident, we have made it evident in our own lives. This is done daily many times over by almost every one I know. It is used both positively and negatively.

God calls it ‘calling things that are not as though they were’. This has been God’s method since the beginning. For six days God said and then it was. He spoke the cosmos into existence.

Romans 4:

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

17 (As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who vivifies the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.

18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be.

19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:

20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

God gave Abram the new name Abraham. The reason? He made him a promise of an offspring that would eventually create a great nation. Now at this time, Abram was well past the child rearing age and his wife was too.. plus she was barren. Now in the natural, you would have to say it was impossible for Abram and his wife to have a child much less, father a future nation. But that is exactly what God named him. Abraham means just that, “father of many”. Now every time someone asked him his name, or called him, he was hearing ‘father of many’. God was having him call that which is not as though it was. He was giving Abraham a ‘self fulfilling prophecy’.

We are told to use that same concept in our lives. Jesus gave us many examples of this, no greater than in

Matthew 8:

23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, so that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.

25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

26 And he said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

27 But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea. He spoke to them. In other accounts, it reported he said ‘Peace. Be Still’. He called things that are not as tough they were and the winds and the sea obeyed him. Before he rebuked the winds and the sea, he rebuked the disciples. O you of little faith… you should have done this yourself is the understanding in this rebuke.

Mark 11:

22 And Jesus answering said to them, Have faith in God.

23 For truly I say to you, That whoever shall say to this mountain, Be you removed, and be you cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he said.

24 Therefore I say to you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

Jesus is telling us to do as God does. Speak to the issue. You have a mountain in front of you? That mountain could be sickness, debt, relationships, needing help. Don’t tell God what your problems are. He already knows, he doesn’t need your commentary on it. Besides, He knows more about it than you do. Jesus said, to speak to your problem. Tell it to get out of the way. To get away from you.

All problems in life, both great and small, come from Satan. When you see that mountain, we are do do like the example Jesus gave in Matthew 4 when tempted by Satan. He quoted scripture to him, rebuked him and finally made him ‘get thee behind me, Satan…’. We are to do no less. God’s Word is powerful. It causes Satan to shrivel and grovel and have to leave you alone. But you can’t do it once and forget it, you must continually do it.. daily, hourly, moment by moment. This is what Paul was talking about when he said 1 Thess 5:

14 Now we exhort you, brothers, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

15 See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

16 Rejoice ever more.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

If we stay in a spirit of prayer, if we are knowledgeable about God’s Word, and we know how it applies to our lives, we too can do as Jesus did to Satan, to the winds, to the dead, to the lame, and on and on.. speak to the problem. Cast it into the proverbial sea. Get it as far away from you as need be.

Don’t tell God about your problems, don’t tell others about your problems, YOU speak to your problems, you cast them away. You have the creation power of the Holy Spirit in you that allows you to call into being true those things which are not manifest at them moment.

Prov 6:2 You are snared with the words of your mouth, you are taken with the words of your mouth.

God, help us to learn to learn to put a muzzle on our mouths that we only learn to speak that which is appealing and pleasing to you, oh Lord. May we learn to speak to our problems and bring Shalom into our lives through the power and authority you have given us. Thank you Father for your Blessings and Grace. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen!


One Comment Add yours

  1. janie scott says:

    (1) I do believe a person can provoke another person to get the wanted results but knowingly. (2) People use to rely on the media now that we have outside sources like the internet not as many believe the media anymore, For example, we see and hear it over and over on the internet; however, some of the (face book) internet is false ads you can tell it’s so outlandish. 90% is true backed by some videos, 10% is false. (3) We’ve heard over and over in the last election that the votes were rigged, I believe it’s because of modern technology can rig the machines, so my thought is that just because you hear it over and over doesn’t make it happen NO, I believe it’s because of the evidence. (4) I believe Jesus believers have the power to change things we are filled with the holy spirit but we need know the truth of something before it can be changed for example. We have to acknowledge the fact that our country is in SIN first then take necessary action and seek God’s word. Liberals don’t think we sin, but I know we do (God’s word says we do) and there is much evidence of sin all around us…


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