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On facebook, a friend wrote:
“fear believes the worst is going to happen… faith believes the best is already on its way”
When your perspective is telling you it’s the worst, that’s when you need your faith to rise. Faith is always needed if we’re going to achieve what we’re called to. Faith allows us to do good despite our less than ideal circumstances because we see what is available to us through Christ.
I still don’t believe that God is in control. I’ll believe otherwise if you can show me in scripture that he is. In the mean time I choose whether or not I get out of bed in the morning. I choose whether to use my words to encourage others or tear them down. I’m pretty sure God has given me a great deal of control over what happens in and around me.
If he were in control there would be no point in us doing anything because God would be taking care of it, there would be no point in relationship with God because we wouldn’t be expected to do anything (there’s the issue: saying God is in control releases us from any responsibility to bring his kingdom to earth).
If God were in control, would there be all the problems there are in the world? Saying God is in control is saying he is not good and that is a fallacy.
Yes, God is all powerful and could take control, but if he did then what would be the point in existing? You have a greater purpose. Start walking in it!
FYI: I can’t take credit for a lot of this. Much of it is just reiterating what Bill Johnson says in Face to Face with God
Then there was this response:
Very good points – but here’s a question. If God ISN’T in control, then does that mean His plan might fail – and what is fore-told in Revelations might not happen? Aren’t we assured that in the end, God will defeat the enemy?
Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
Other ways that is read include, “that all things work together for good to those who love God, who;” or
“that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who.”
Note: this assurance is predicated to those that Love God, and this last version of the verse makes it clearer that we are working with Him to bring about good. Our relationship with Him comes with the expectation of participating in His work. (and striving to not hurt others)
God, as you said, is capable of controlling everything, but allows man free will. Maybe this is all about the big picture – not the small,( re: daily free will choices – getting up from bed, or deciding to commit a crime, etc.) The big picture is our unbreakable relationship and life with God – if we choose it.
If Hell is separation from God – we are assured we will never be separated, and He is working with us through all things for good in that direction. Rom 8:39 “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Some of “those that Love Him” and have purposed to work for Him abbreviate that thought – rightly I think – into our assurance that “God is in control.”
And you are right – Faith is needed if we’re going to achieve what we are called to.
I need to address the thought that if God is in Control, there is no point for relationship -
Relationship with God, as pointed out in Romans 8:28, involves Him working with us, through us, etc. – to bring about His will and good -
that’s what the Holy Spirit is all about.
We choose relationship with Jesus Christ. There is our free will. But God IS the Master when we do that – he is our LORD – and we are His servants. Therefore, He IS in control.
There is No relationship without accepting His Lordship!
Further, we can NOT do good on our own – we need the Holy Spirit. According to Romans 6, we die – our flesh dies with Jesus Christ – and then we are raised up again new with Jesus Christ – (just as He was raised up again) – to live a New Life, with Him.
Rom 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
This is the Relationship: we can do nothing without Christ (God/Holy Spirit) in Us:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. [For when we abide in Him -- and He in us -- He shows us His will and that's all we long for!]
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:3-10
Abiding in Him, and He in us – involves letting go of ourselves, and allowing Him – in control – to work through us.
So I think Mr. Johnson, in his book ‘Face to Face with God,” was very wrong about there being no point to relationship if God is in Control. It’s reversed – there would be no point to relationship if he WASN’T in control -
Obedience is a Blessing.
The book of Proverbs is filled with admonishments to listen to your father, seek wisdom, and shun folly. Proverbs 4:1 “Here ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” According to Proverbs 3:1-2, Obeying your parents will bring you peace and good life. “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.”
For one, obeying parents brings you physical protection. Rules put up borders that keep you out of dangerous situations. “Don’t sit on the railing” is a good rule to have when you’re 15 stories above the pavement.
I remember when one of my daughters was a year and a half and we were camping at Glacier Park. Anyone that’s camped at Glacier knows that sometimes you’re lucky to get any kind of spot at all, let alone find a perfect one. Our campsite was not only close to the road, but cars came around a tree lined curve and couldn’t see us until they were right in front. While we were setting up the tent, I kept an eye on little girl, just waiting for her to make a move toward the road. As soon as she did, I spanked her once, good and hard. Then I went back to work and watcdhed her again. Sure enough, when she saw one of her older siblings start walking toward the bathroom, she followed. So I spanked her bottom hard again. After a few minutes, we did it a 3rd time. She didn’t try it a fourth time.
Why did I spank her hard right off the bat? To possibley save her life. I’m only human and while I can make a concentrated effort to keep my eyes on her for periods of time, I know there is no way I can do it 100% of the time. I knew I wasn’t perfect enough to be able to spend two days at that camp without ever taking my eye off her for a moment, so I wanted to set up the only kind of fence I could, an emotional one. I wanted her to know from the start that going that direction meant pain. Best to get business out of the way as soon as possilble. She didn’t understand at the time, but it was a lot better for her to feel that pain on her butt then for her to get hit by a car.
Believe it or not, even at the age of 14, 15 and 16, childen still need fences and boundaries that they may not understand. And it’s okay for kids not to completely understand them. Obey anyway.
Emotional protection; Through obedience, kids not only have the comfort of knowing their parents care enough about you to make rules, but they also have the comfort of the rules themselves.
As long as parents have laid down a rule, you are protected. You don’t have to make up an excuse for your friends as to why you can’t do something. You have the comfort of being able to say, “My Dad won’t let me.” Period. No other explanation is necessary. You can feel safer with rules. Limits can be a comfort.
This is something else I know from experience. I grew up without parents who watched me close or gave me rules. When I was eight and the parents of my friends were telling them they couldn’t cross the highway and they had to be home in an hour, I thought I had it good because my parents didn’t care where I went. But the key phrase here is “didn’t care.” When I was a teenager and could go where I wanted, I still thought I had it good. But in my heart, a lot of the people I was around really scared me. I hung out with them, but truth is I didn’t really like most of them. I was being asked to do things that scared me. I thought I was happy and having a good time, but in truth, I was a scared little girl who actually felt worthless. How great it would have been to have parents that set boundaries and kept me safe.
Spiritual protection: A third reason to obey is simply because God tells you to.
Proverbs 6:20, 23 “My son, keep they father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother…for the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”
Most of the time your parents aren’t harassing you just because they haven’t got anything better to do. Most of the time they harass you because they Love you and know they only have a few more years left to teach you before you turn 18 …and go out and fall on your face.
A) Eph. 6: 1-3, “Children, Obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
B) 1 Sam 15:22 says obedience is better than sacrifice. Why? Because obedience in itself is one of the greatest sacrifices. When you make the decision to be obedient, you are deciding to follow the wishes of someone else, and not follow your OWN desires. You are sacrificing your own yearnings. This is the same kind of thing as fasting is. Giving up what YOU want, for the sake of someone else’s wants.
C) Romans 6:18, Obedience brings Righteousness. You feel it. Things change in your life and in your heart. There are very real, tangible Blessings from being obedient.
D) Romans 6:19, “You are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have come slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans
Romans 1:4, “and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 2:29, “No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”
Romans 7:6, “but now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
Romans 8:1-5, “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”
Romans 8:9-16, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And it the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
Romans 8:23, “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Romans 8:26, 27, “in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
Romans 9:1, “I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
Romans 15;17-19, “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” 30 “I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”
The Holy Spirit in the Book of 1Corinthians
1Corinthians 2:4, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
1Corinthians 2:9-14 “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who live him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
1Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
1Corinthians 5:3-5, “Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus in present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”
1Corinthians 6:11, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”
1Corinthians 7;40, “In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is – and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
1Corinthians 12:3-13, “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work on one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1Corinthians 14:2, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.
1Corinthians 14:14-16. “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind: I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say ‘Amen’ to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.