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When it comes to explaining how life works, there are two schools of thought. Those who deny the reality of a God who is intimately involved in His creation teach that there are impersonal forces in the universe which have a weird way of balancing out right and wrong. Here’s where things like karma and the law of attraction come in. If you do nice things, nice things will come back on your head. If you do mean things to others, mean things will happen to you. If you think negative thoughts, you will attract the negative towards you. But why? There’s no rhyme or reason, it’s just the way things work. But who set things up to work this way and how can impersonal laws have a moral code? No one can explain it because the theory is utterly stupid. Be on your guard against belief systems which try to uphold portions of God’s moral code while simultaneously scrubbing God out of the picture. Such games don’t work. You can’t divorce God from the things He has made, and God is the One who taught us what morals are.
The problem with the law of attraction is that it ascribes far too much control to human beings. It proposes that we can control how the universe runs simply by the way we choose to think or behave. In other words, we’re powerful little deities in our own right. There are many belief systems that boil down to this same bottom line: we’re little gods and goddesses who could reinvent reality if we were just willing to focus and apply ourselves. This same ridiculous theory has been repackaged and sold under a thousand different labels. The power of positive thinking. Name it and claim it. The power of the spoken word. You are what you believe. Relativism. Good karma, bad karma. Sacrificial giving. Praying the Word. But no matter what we call it, and no matter how much we try to Christianize it, in the end it all just comes down to the same carnal lust for power and control that’s been defining us since the very beginning. We humans want to be the gods. We want the real God to do the serving while we do the commanding. It won’t ever be this way, yet we stubbornly hang on to the dream. And because we’re clinging to such a ridiculous delusion, we end up very confused about why our lives are unfolding the way they are.
Why do bad things happen to you? What is the true source of your troubles? At first glance, Christianity seems to offer three answers to this question. Your trials must either come from you, demons, or God. Read through the New Testament epistles and you’ll find the early apostles teaching that you and demons are the main sources of your troubles. This is because the New Testament boys are in denial about the sovereignty of God. Sure they say He’s all powerful, but then they say that created things are really running His universe for Him. According to James, you mess up your own life by tempting yourself, because God has nothing to do with your temptations. According to James, while you’re busy tempting yourself, God is off doing—well, no one knows what He’s doing, but He’s clearly not around. And then there’s John. John divides the world into two groups: the children of Satan and the children of God. If you sin, you’re a child of the devil, you’ve never known Christ, and God can’t have anything to do with you because you’re in the dark and God is only light. John insists that anyone who sins must be totally disconnected from God. Given the fact that every human on the planet sins, apparently we’re all disconnected from God, and He must be off shining His holy light in some other safer place where we can’t cast shadows on Him.
And then there’s Paul. Paul can’t seem to make up his mind about many things. One minute Paul tells us all is well between us and our Makers, the next minute He’s got High Priest Jesus up in a heavenly Temple making continuous sacrifices on our behalf to protect us all from Yahweh’s wrath. One minute Yahweh is all-knowing, the next minute the Holy Spirit has to explain to Yahweh what we’re saying in our prayers because apparently Yahweh’s universal translator keeps busting on Him. According to Paul, Jesus is God Almighty, but He’s also some bumpkin who had to learn obedience through suffering. Paul applauds Jesus for wrestling the power of death away from that nasty old devil by dying on a cross. But even though Paul says Jesus triumphed over the powers of darkness through His resurrection, somehow those powers of darkness are still ruling this world and getting in God’s way, hence we need to suit up in our magical “armor of God” and start duking it out with individual demons. And while we’re trying to quench those fiery darts with our great shields of faith, we can’t help but wonder where God has gone to. Is He with us or not? Is He ruling or is the whole sovereignty thing just a joke? After we listen to what the New Testament apostles have to say about God being in control and not being in control at the same time, we are forced to conclude that we have ourselves and demons to blame for our troubles in life while our three indifferent Creators are off somewhere in a holy huddle.
But now let’s look at what God has to say. If we go through the Bible and read only what Yahweh and Jesus say about how things work down here, we get a very different picture. According to Them, blaming demons for our problems is a copout, and blaming ourselves is utterly ridiculous. You see, before you can say that you are the source of your own trials in life, you have to first assign yourself far more power than you actually have. The truth is that you aren’t “making” anything happen down here, and neither are demons. All created things are being managed by the Ones who created them: Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It is your Gods who bring troubles and trials into your life—not you with your clever manipulation of the law of attraction. And as for demons—they are just as powerless as you are when it comes to making this universe go their way.
If you had your way, you’d be healthy, wealthy and happy all the time. If demons had their way, you’d be burning in Hell as of yesterday. Notice that neither agenda is happening. Neither you nor demons are getting to call the shots down here because neither of you are running this place. It is God who decides when you’ll have troubles and when you’ll have good times.
God says He is a purposeful Being who has a specific agenda for your life. God says that He brings trials into your life for two reasons. If you’re being a little punk, then He uses trials to discipline you. If you’re living in alignment with Him, then He uses trials to reward you. Trials can be a spanking or they can be the key that unlocks the door to the next level of spiritual maturity. They are either about dragging you back onto the right path or they are about pushing you closer to God. It’s the same with blessings. Just because God is making someone’s life go well doesn’t mean He is pleased with that person. God often uses blessings as a means of disciplining someone. Often God finds heaping on the blessings to be a much more effective spanking than heaping on the trials. But the point is this: everything comes back to God. He is always the One who is ultimately behind what’s happening to you. This means that if you want to benefit from what’s happening, and if you want to get some answers to all those nagging “why” questions, you need to stop focusing on the instrument and go directly to the Source.
God doesn’t need to use people or demons to accomplish His will in your life, but He often chooses to. Demons are constantly helping God even though in their own minds they are trying to hinder Him. When God presents demons with an opportunity to attack you, they don’t rush in for the kill because they’re eager to help you thrive in your spiritual walk. They rush in because they hate your guts and they’re hoping to make you miserable. But because God is the One controlling when and how demons interact with you, if you are listening to Him, you will always end up being helped by your tussles with demons. From God’s point of view, demons are extremely useful instruments in helping you progress in your personal walk with Him. So are other humans. Where we go astray is when we start focusing on the instrument God is using in our lives instead of on God Himself.
Maybe your father abused you and now you’ve got all kinds of emotional issues. You have two choices. You can either focus on the instrument and spend your life fuming with anger towards your father, or you can look past the instrument and focus on God. To blame your father for your problems is really a copout. Your father couldn’t do anything to you without God’s permission. It’s really God who set you up with the issues you have today, and God is the only One who can help you heal from them.
It’s actually a wonderful relief to realize that God is the true Source of all your problems because God is the only One who is totally for you in life. His love for you and His positive motivations are things you can really trust in. The day you really grasp that God is the One controlling all of the pain, suffering, and evil in this world is the day that your fear levels will start to really drop. But so often Christians refuse to go there. The worse the trial, the more hesitant they are to acknowledge that God is responsible. Instead, they go the route of the New Testament apostles by shifting the blame onto some other party. It was Satan. It was evil people. It was that mysterious force called Sin. It was your own fallen flesh. Then there’s the biggest copout of all: “it was just a coincidence.” There’s nothing more pathetic than seeing Christians run over to the atheist camp when some tornado mows down a community. “God had nothing to do with it. It was just terrible luck.” Really?? So now some impersonal force called Luck has shoved God off of His throne? If this is who we think God is, it’s time to ask why we’re calling ourselves Christians. Christ is not some limited halfwit who is constantly being thrown off balance by Satan, Sin and Luck. A Christian is supposed to be a follower of the real Christ, not the promoter of some phony Christ who was invented by people who were in denial about how powerful God is.
The buck always stops with God. He is the ultimate Source of all trials and blessings. Demons don’t run this world and neither do you. Other people don’t run this world. Whenever you want to know why something is happening to you, God is the One you need to be asking. If you’re a Christian, there are only two possibilities: either God is disciplining you or He is maturing you. Either way, He’s trying to help you. We need to let go of this lust for power and stop trying to attract things towards us, because this universe is not a lump of clay that we can strategically mold into the shape of our choice. This is God’s universe, and we were created for the purposes of serving Him and communing with Him. Growing closer to God is the prize we need to be focused on—not on trying to manipulate the middlemen. While there is definite value in having some understanding of how other people and demons operate, at the end of this life, God is going to be judging us based on how we responded to Him. Pleasing God and maturing in our relationship with Him are the goals we need to focus on. God says that if we stay in alignment with Him, all the things He puts us through will end up greatly benefiting our souls.
Help for Stressing Christians: Is God punishing you?