Monday, July 30, 2012

Cooperation not Control, Commitment, or Promises

Most teach that we should "give God control." That we should pray for God to "control" us. But scripture never uses that sort of language. It says for us to walk with God & to cooperate with Him. It is always a relationship. It is never "all me" or "all Him." It is "us together." That is how Jesus lived with the Father.

We cannot "hand over the controls" of our life to God. God will not magically override your free will just because you said you'd "surrender" your will to Him. Surrender is a term never used in scripture for our relationship with God. The word that is used is "submit" and it literally means "voluntary cooperation." It is a relational walk not a switch off. It happens decision by decision. You cannot blanket cooperate. You have to do it in time as God directs. The idea of "surrender" & "giving God control" is often approached as a switch off. Your part is to pray a morning prayer where you declare blanket "surrender of your day." Life doesn't work like that. You can't say to your boss, "I surrender my day to you" and expect him to do all of your work or even that somehow the right work will get done. Communication lines must stay open.

The bible doesn't use the word "commit" or "commitment" either. Commit, as I've always heard it used in religion, means "dedicate, pledge, promise, to put yourself under obligation.1" Jesus told us that it is not good to make promises to God (Matthew 5:33-37). Instead He tells us only to use an honest "Yes" or "No" as questions arise. We aren't to live by the promises we make to God but the promises He has made to us. Religion constantly takes the focus off of God & our legitimate relationship with Him in favor of rules to keep & promises to make. Whether it is realized or not both are based solely in human effort.

Making promises to God is ineffective because they are either theoretical or made outside of a situation. Jesus said anything beyond an honest "Yes" or "No" "comes from evil.2" So sad it is then that religion teaches the Christian life as almost based solely on promise making. Repent is falsely taught to mean "promise to God that you will not repeat a sin." It is also taught that you should "repent" however often you do something you think is sin which can be many times a day. (Repent actually means "change your mind" not "to promise to change your mind" but an actual change of mind). Instead of realizing that we "cannot make one hair white or black" we set ourselves up for perpetual disappointment.

God never intended for us to live in an endless cycle of make promise/break promise/shame/recommitment. I dare say the majority of Christians live that way. I lived that way for about 10 years as a Christian. God's love is unconditional and it is based on His perfectly trustworthy promises not on my so called obedience. I say "so called obedience" because most are taught to obey rules/principles that either God never told them to obey or that were never biblical in the first place.

While cooperation (the literal meaning of submission in the bible) can involve you choosing God's will over your own, the focus is not on what you are giving up (like it is with commitment & surrender) but on what God is giving you!

Commitment & surrender are based on human instigation & effort. In cooperation God guides & we respond. God is the instigator, the wisdom, and the power source. We are His beloved children. The more we cooperate with Him through trust the more we will enjoy the love & experience of walking with our awesome Father!

"The love of Christ grips us & compels us. His love holds us together & gives us security. We can see the wonder of His love because He has died for all. So now we who have living spirits may no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us and rose again. The love of Christ surrounds us!"
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

1Commit, meaning entrust, is a good thing but it still has to happen as you walk through life. Entrusting yourself to God gives you eternal salvation & a new identity (spirit) in Christ but opportunities for entrusting yourself to God happen as you walk through life with Him. You have to choose to trust Him as things happen. It sounds simple and it is.
2Religion evil? No surprise to me.

1 comment:

  1. Wow this insight is priceless! Thank you for this, it sure resonates with my spirit - and with the new testament - big time