Give Yourself to Others …

Archive for April 2018

I certainly cannot say what everyone means when they use this phrase: The Providence of God.

One definition of providence is “the protective care of God.”  But it seems a bit more complicated than that.

The way I hear people use the phrase seems to imply God controls and perhaps even manipulates events and circumstances for the benefit of those who believe in and follow him.

I think it’s fairly obvious there are times when such a view is hard to grasp or even accept.  Most often, when something tragic happens.  Does anyone believe God directs a newborn baby to be born with a life threatening defect or cancer?  Does anyone think it is God’s will people die in a fire?

This past week, a woman was flying home when the engine of the plane exploded into pieces, she was partially sucked out the window of the plane and later died — did God make that happen?

Some quickly say, we don’t understand God’s plan for us.

But I don’t think these events have much to do with God’s plan for us.

God’s plan was for us to be reconciled to himself.  Our failures to conform to his will separate us from him, and the point of Jesus and the gospel was to create a pathway to restore our relationship with God.

God’s plan is not that we should have a problem free life.  God’s plan is that we should submit ourselves to his will.

God’s will is supreme, not because he imposes it on us, but rather, because we intentionally submit to it.

God’s will is manifest in the world as the result of our submission to it.  Personally, I see God’s will manifest in the lives of his people responding to the events of life.

Bad things happen.  Good things happen.  But in all things may we always find a way to submit to God’s will and conform to it.

Advertisements

Most are deluded with the idea we can say something to another person, which will cause that person to change their mind about a particular topic.  We think we can persuade others to think like us.

I repeat — that is a delusion.

Now, granted, sometimes we do say things and then, coincidentally, other people changing their view of things.  But even when that happens, it’s not because of us, it’s because of them!

People are free-will individuals.  They get to make up their own minds.  They get to make their own choices.  They get to set their own priorities.  They get to decide what is important and what is not.  They choose what they believe.

People are neither good or bad, just because they disagree with us.  They are just different, and that is their choice.

What we can do is inspire or motivate others to act on what they already believe.

I spent much of my career in the direct mail fundraising business. Fortunately, for me, early on, I learned this:  It’s not about persuading people to agree with me, it’s about finding people who already agree and motivating them to act on what they believe.

An example:  Most political campaign communications are not about changing Rs to Ds or Ds to Rs.  It’s about convincing your opposing voters their cause is lost and there is no point in voting; and, at the same time, inspiring your supporting voters, theirs is the winning side and they should “get on the bandwagon” to victory.

In matters of commerce, you’ll never convince someone to buy your product or service, unless they already believe they have the “problem” your product or service resolves.

People do change their minds all the time.  But those changes are unpredictable and are caused by far more factors and considerations than what little anyone of us may contribute to them.

So, speak out about what you believe.  Believe what you say.  But let everyone else do the same.

I admit, I get pretty annoyed when Christians attempt to attribute to Jesus, their own political views. Whether on the political Left or the political right, I think they are wrong.

Just for the record, I’m more on the political right — pretty close to libertarian.

I see the controlling factor as “free will.”  God gave it to us.  It’s what makes us fundamentally different from animals.

From where I sit, Christians on the political Left want government to implement policies around caring for others; but then object, when those on the political Right want the government to implement policies which criminalize “sins.”

The Left wants to institutionalize charitable activities.  The Right wants to institutionalize Christian morality.

I think both miss the point of Jesus’ example.

The emphasis of Jesus’ life was two-fold:  First, conform your personal will to God.  Second, seek with your whole heart and being to life consistent with God’s will.

One of the central reasons for Jesus’ life on earth was to provide the example of how to conform our will and behavior to God’s will.  But at the same time, he taught we need to recognize our inability to conform completely to God’s will.  Such failure is the reason we need redemption.  And our redemption is individual, not corporate.

That is, the government’s success or failure to provide a “safety net” does not affect our salvation.  At the same time, if another person lives inconsistent with God’s will, that does not condemn me — or anyone else.

The issue, from God’s perspective, is whether I am seeking to conform my will to his.  It’s not about how successful I am — it’s about whether I’m trying.  

So, my liberal friends are trying to do what they think is right.  My conservative friends are trying to do what they think is right.  My libertarian friends are trying to do what they think is right.  My socialist friends (I’m not sure I know of any) are trying to do what they think is right.

None of us know, for sure, if we’re doing the right thing.

Give yourself to others, for their good, expecting, nor requiring, anything in return — even if they disagree with you politically.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,368 other followers

Twitter Updates

Advertisements