I am not sure what the problem is with using the word “we”. Since I was using it to describe many people’s tendency, which I find fairly prevalent.
God’s calling to each of us is individual. Some will be called to literally forsake all and become ministers of the gospel. Others will be called to serve God in what we would call regular daily life. In the New Testament, there were those who left everything to minister. The vast majority of the church of the New Testament did not. Most of them went about their daily lives as Christ followers and in the course of that, shared the love of God with those with whom they came in contact. You need to allow God to guide you through your spirit by the Holy Spirit. If God wants you to sell everything you own and give to the poor and then come follow him in a life devoted to full time service, He is able to communicate that to you.
Otherwise, if he doesn’t call you to do that, you may assume that it is acceptable for you to continue with your plans for a career, family, and unless he checks you, trust him to use you to love the world in whatever career and life path you end up following.
You mentioned Job at one point or another. The book of Job is a parable. The point of the parable, or at least the main point, is that bad things happen to good people all the time and we should not simply assume that God is judging them for their evil deeds. Bad things just happen. In the parable, Job is actually being complemented in a very unpleasant way. God has so much confidence in Job that he allows the devil to test him by harming him in various ways to see whether or not Job will forsake God. Job passes the test, but his friends judge him because they feel God is punishing him. If not, why is all this evil coming upon him? The teachers who put together this parable would like to teach their listeners not to act like Job’s friends. The book of Job is very surprising to me. It’s amazing, really. The principles it teaches are exceedingly advanced for the ancient world into which it was written. It is believed to be the oldest, most ancient book of the Bible. There are many other important truths in the book of Job, but I won’t get into them right now.
Now, as to the problem of evil, or perhaps better put, the problem of pain: I recommend CS Lewis’s book, “The Problem Of Pain”. It won’t answer all your questions, but it is a good place to start. Understanding the problem of evil is a very ambitious project, and it will cost you quite a lot of effort. It’s very much worth it, but unless one of us is going to write you a book, you’re not going to find your answers from blog posts——at least, not very satisfactory answers.
Regarding God being one among many, this is a common misconception even amongst Christians. We think of God as being somewhere within or perhaps somewhere without the universe. Maybe we think of Him as being completely out of this world. Maybe in a place/time called eternity. This is a very, very mistaken understanding of God. God is the all in all. God does not live in the universe God does not live in eternity. It is in HIM that we live and move and have our being. The universe is within God. As for Eternity, God IS eternity. God is not a being amongst other beings. God is being itself. There is no space wide enough to contain God. If there were, that space would be a higher and a vaster reality than God. God would instantly be demoted to being merely a being amongst other beings. God is the foundational fact. There is nothing before Him, nothing surrounding Him, nothing after Him. God is all and God is love.
Hi Joe… I didn’t mean for my post to sound overly personal. So perhaps that is your assumption based off your own beliefs OR your observation of others’ beliefs, and yes, I think there may be some truth to your assertion. BUT IF that is your own case COULD that not be what is throwing up these concerns you raise?
Yepper., But this starts to take away our reliance on traditional evangelical models of salvation, redemption and atonement. When we walk away from orthodoxy, as hard as it may be, we realize some other possibilities.
Just a thought.
God calls everyone to completely surrender to Him. I wrote about this in another thread but I will share it with you. Ego dissolves in surrendering and trusting God. Letting go and letting God have control. Instead of fighting against the flow of life we let go of control as we abandon ourselves completely to God. We navigate through life not control it. We usually have to hit bottom and shatter the ego before we surrender to God in humble trust that leads to obedience. In learning to let go we empty ourselves to be filled with the Spirit (word of God). This letting go and emptying the self is the goal in Buddhists meditation. It sharpens our focus to live in the now or moment. When we surrender we accept the past and future as the blood of Christ covers them both. With God in control the future is secure. For He promises to work everything together for good for those that love Him. And we love Him because He first loved us in His suffering death and resurrection. In confessing our sins and trusting God the past is blotted out and the future is secure because it’s in His hands. I have hope and am freed up to live in the present moment. One day at a time one moment at a time we are dependent on Christ as He secures our future because we love and trust in Him. He is the self-sufficient, all-knowing, all-powerful and all glorious one. I’m nothing. I’m powerless and depend on Him in a humbled and surrendered trust in His Divine Providence. In letting go I’m no longer in control but the sovereign God is. I no longer try to ego control life and other people. In surrendering to God’s control we surrender to the flow of life and live from the heart. We no longer try to manage everything. God is our manager. His omnipresence permeates everything as He is the guiding Spirit behind the cosmic evolution. We put our faith in Him. We trust His promises. We learn this in the first three steps of Narcotics Anonymous. It’s a process and takes time.
I appreciate this. And thanks for sharing.
@maintenanceman, I’m sorry that I wasn’t more clear as to what I was referring. I was talking about calling in life. Many of us agonize over what God has planned for our lives, trying to discover whether we should be, for example, a doctor, a cowboy, a maintenance man… I think that, while God may call some or many of us to a specific trade, in many other cases, God will be satisfied to use us in whatever trade we choose to pursue. I am not sure that God is as deterministic as we sometimes think he is when it comes to our life’s work and other things. I think that he often leaves these things up to us to choose on our own. Sometimes we choose well, sometimes very poorly, but he will bring good out of all of it. I wasn’t referring to the call to salvation, and from your correct and kindly put exhortation, I think that’s the way I came across. :oops:
I read an old book about surrender by Richard Rohr known as Breathing under water. In the first step, the task is to admit powerlessness. I find that the natural tendency of admitting powerlessness is accepting defeat and giving into more powerful injustices. I find for myself that I have been blaming others in calling them the oppressors. I have been angry with people in power who create situations where I have to choose one good at the expense of another good(or lesser of the two evils), and therefore setting up the situation where Im damned if I do and damned if I dont. The more I see it, the oppressor is nothing but an external manifestation of anothers ego. But the Egoic mind cannot help but see things in “either/or” ways where one good is sacrificed for another good.
The Bible says when you get angry don’t sin. But we are not to let the sun go down on our wrath. We are to let it go and trust God. Indeed, the beautiful fruits of the Spirit are:
Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and self-control. We love God because He first loved us. God opens up the eyes of our hearts to see and behold His beauty and be transformed by it. Not that we never mess up. But when we do God always convicts and restores the beauty of holy love to us. When I get angry I turn it over to God. But by the grace of God go I.
If we were to live we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison. - Bill Wilson
Actually the Richard Rohr book was based on Alcoholics anonymous
It was based on his interpretation. I’m quite happy being powerless. Letting Go and Letting God in surrender deflates ego and therefore anger. God promises to work all my frustrating circumstances together for my good because I love and trust in Him. There must be a letting go, surrender as one empties the self. This is the goal of the Twelve Steps and Twelve traditions - to deflate ego and gain humility as one undergoes a personality change. Here’s an article on ego death from Wikipedia:
Hollytree, I’m glad you’ve found happiness. However, I just would like to say that just because “ego death” is the path to happiness for you doesn’t mean it is for everyone.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God
You’re right. Humility is for God’s children
I know for myself the biggest reasons I want to surrender to God are to be free from slavery from egoism and its constant judgmentalism, power over, dualism and insubstantiality. But I dont think I can do this through my own intelligence. I tried non-dual thinking with the mind, and it worked out so badly.
12 Steps &12 Traditions Step Two, p.30 by Bill Wilson
By their example they showed us that humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first.
Hollytree, are you implying that a person isn’t humble unless he has “ego death”, and that I’m not one of God’s children?
There’s good insights here Joe
Absolute humility dissolves ego. ~~ David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.
I have actually done quite a bit of research on consciousness beyond the Ego. I first learned about this from Eckhart Tolle when I began to realize that reason alone cannot give satisfactory answers. Then I also came across Richard Rohr, who teaches similar concepts, but I find easier to understand as he comes from a Christian background.
I have understood how the Ego can be a massive burden. Since I find the mind only can comprehend arbitrary facts, the conscience is this nag guilting me over not fitting socio-cultural ideals, and the animalistic motivation for subjective pleasure.