Monday, July 19, 2010

Within Our Control

There is so much in our lives that is outside of our control.  A man who has never smoked a cigeratte gets lung cancer or the woman who runs daily dies of heart attack.  We can reduce risks, but we don't control our DNA, the weather, the government policy, or the actions of another person.  In spite of our efforts to be intentional, a good deal of life is created for us by outside forces.

With this in mind consider the words of Gregory Boyd:
While a great deal of the world in which we live and even a good deal of own lives is determined by forces outside of our control, the conviction that we possess self-determination remains.  However much of life may be decided for us, some aspects of our life are decided by us.  We have some degree of genuine say-so in what happens in our lives and the world, and it is this that most fundamentally gives our lives dignity and worth" (Satan and the Problem of Evil, p. 66).
We have been created with the ability to make choices.  While our lives might be at the mercy of outside forces we can still make choices that determine how we will respond to those forces.

We can, as Paul writes, set our hearts on heavenly things (Col. 3:1); or clothe ourselves with mercy, love, and patience (Col. 3:12). In that same line of thinking we can consider it a joy when hardships come our way as we read in James 1:2.

Followers of Christ Jesus need to keep two truths in mind.  First, we need to remember that much of life is outside of our control.  Second, how we respond to the joys, hardships, successes, and trials of life will reveal our faith the the world.  It is this second truth that is with our control, and therefore that is where our concern should be.

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