Hey Jim! I need your help desperately! I've been thinking about God's sovereignty a lot lately and it has made me go INSANE!!! Everyday I make choices and I see everyone else in the world doing the same. Yet, the Bible says that God is in control...how can that be?? Does mankind have a choice or is God dictating what they choose?? I'm also frustrated because I CANNOT comprehend why God would give faith to some and others not. When I look at those I work with...I think they are wonderful people...and then think that God is just not giving them faith so that they could have LIFE it makes me MAD. Why would God withhold LIFE from those that are around me?? Also, [I've heard a lot] said lately about the Garden of Eden and how maybe God CAUSED the delusion, death, etc. My problem is that God is a God of love but when I think of Him as being SOVEREIGN, I think of a DICTATOR and I wonder how He could withhold Life from some. How are people's choices related to Him being in control?? Why does the Bible say, "Whosoever will may come"? Please help me before I go INSANE. Thanks. Your friend
Hello my desperate friend,
First thing, make sure you're sitting down and concentrating in a Zen kind of way before continuing. Now, take your right hand and slap your face sharply. Alternate between right and left hand for best effect. Repeat until calmed down. And then remember, the fate of the world around you is not in your hands.
What difference does it make when complications arise when the logical mind attempts to harmonize God's sovereignty with man's choice? Do you think I have this all figured out? In truth, there is no such thing because the harmonization we desire is an imagination of the old mind and therefore does not even understand that it does not understand. That's why you go insane in the attempt. That's why we form doctrines to make it all simple and explain away the tension and insanity. But we have the mind of Christ ... we don't need the doctrinal formulas.
I believe that God is in control, but I also think this reality has been turned into a doctrinal formula by which men have attempted to subjugate whatever the natural mind suggests as being in defiance of the reality. You struggle against the vain imaginations of a mind that insists that what you see around you is as you see it. I know, I've often struggled against that damned insistence. And it is exactly here that we find no alternative but the mind of Christ, for this is the heart of faith.
I know I have not even attempted to answer some of your questions, but then I think some of them have no real answers ... except in a fleshly pleasing way. I don't want to give you that, eh? :)
Thanks Jim for your quick reply. First, I want you to know that inside I know that if I could understand God and His ways with my intellect then He wouldn't be God. But, I find myself analyzing God and His ways so much and trying to understand His salvation...which only leads to insanity!! I knew that you wouldn't just give me an answer like most everyone in this world based on fleshly logic and man's wisdom and that is why I love bringing my questions and insanity to you. Its like you turn my mind from all that is misleading and onto Christ. That is what I appreciate about you. So let me ask you. What does having the mind of Christ mean practically with regards to understanding?? His mind obviously is not so interested in understanding His ways through my intellect and my wisdom. So what exactly is the understanding that Christ Mind brings? Sincerely
It is always good to communicate with you, for your responses are as cool, fresh breezes in the summer heat.
So what exactly is the understanding that Christ Mind brings?
His mind brings sanity, for it is the only clear view of all things! It makes us know with a confidence that God cannot be analyzed ... only known by the same mind. For by the mind of Christ we know God. In knowing God we know ourselves. When this reality is put into words it sounds ethereal and irrelevant, but it translates into the real in us. It is by this mind we speak to one another with anything of worth, for it is life. By this mind we are given to know that true life lies beneath the surface.
Listen to something our ancient brother Paul wrote:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21 NASB
That we will KNOW ... the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe! His working in us is according to the strength of his might brought about in the resurrection of Christ. Made new creatures ... alive from the dead. His understanding translates down into the very fabric of our being, though being hidden from the understanding of the world, that same understanding we often appeal to in hopes of knowing more of God. But his knowledge brings sanity in the midst of the lie that would have us believe it.
His understanding is seen in love. For we are also given to know that what we had interpreted as love in the world is merely a pale shadow of something that hinted of something magnificent. That magnificence overflows within us by his spirit. There is no disappointment in him, and the only reason we sense disappointment toward our Father is when we judge by that pale shadow and project it upon him.
True understanding is the knowledge of the eternal. We see beyond the constraints and bondage of the natural fleshly mind, the one that is even now passing away before us. As Peter had said We know of its passage even in all the pomp of a world that congratulates itself in its own knowledge. But this knowledge is only of that which passes away! Even its knowledge of so-called eternal things are inextricably linked to its own temporal mind. The understanding we have been given in Christ is the very reality that leaves us feeling empty when we try to fill up on the bloated nothingness of a mind that professes its own merits.
The understanding we have been given is pure and simple, and it will be despised by those who cling to temporal knowledge. But that which is in us does not care, for it cannot and will not be satisfied on empty fluff. What exactly is the understanding? It is Christ himself!!
WoW!!! That has to be one of the best things you have ever written me. You save the best wine for last, eh? thank you so much for this. I will read and re-read it again and again. I don't know why or how, but God has worked in you in ways that I marvel. I see His reality in you in such a fresh way that it brings joy to my heart knowing that God has those who are like you. I appreciate all that you share. Thank you so much.