Looking for my scripture and truth loving brothers and sisters to double check my work.
Anyway, this one was weighing on my heart recently and found some time this morning to write something up and share.
Who's in Control?
Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. ~James 4:2-3
I'm no expert on the "Calvinist-Armanian Debate", but I do know that at the core of the debate is the question of whether man really has a freewill.
We are going there for I believe it is an important area to understand.
I'm going to try and share it as simply as possible.
Can God be boxed? Sure can. God is love, faithful, good, etc. Get my drift. Who God is will never change. It is a sure foundation one can stand on.
Can God's ways be boxed? Some. God will never go back on his promises. It is a sure foundation one can stand on.
Anything beyond who God is, and his promises that He has given us in Christ, is subject to change as He sees fit.
And, where does man's freewill fit into all this?
Upon that foundation.
Think of God's will and timeclock as a large box (or circle if you prefer). Within that box is man's freewill and timeclock. Man can exercise his freewill, which will effect his personal timeclock, only within the parameters of God's will and timeclock.
And, I like to name God's box as his corporate will, or what He is looking to do overall to bring about his promises in Christ for his glory foremost, and for restoring his creation to Himself.
So, maybe God would like you set free from drugs and working in missions in some foreign country, but you now choose to ignore all the help He sent your way. Unless God wanting you there is part of his overall will for what He is doing, then of now you won't walk into it.
Yes, you do have freewill and that freewill will affect your life, but you can never exercise your freewill outside the parameters of God's will.
If God chose you, He will save you. Yet, how your life is lived within that box, including your personal timeclock, will be affected by your freewill.
The above verse (James 4:2-3) was chosen as an example of how God invites man to participate in life with Him. Some say one cannot control God in regards to what we do or pray. That is another matter altogether. That is ultimately a heart issue.
If we are looking to control God by what we pray and do, then we need to take our hearts / motives to the Lord.
And, understand that God invites us to participate in life (within the parameters of his corporate will) and what we do will affect that.
In short, God is ultimately in control. Yet, by his permissive will, He has given us some control of our lives (that which falls within his ultimate will).
So, make the distinction and don't let anyone tell you that what you pray or do doesn't matter. And, don't let them tell you that you are trying to control God in that matter. Although, you can prayerfully take their words into consideration as you search your heart with the Lord to see if that is what you are trying to do. If so, then your motive is wrong.
People often judge the heart on surface without knowing what its motivate is.
Further Reading: Malachi 3:6, Romans 11:29, 2 Corinthians 1:20,