James starts his letter characterizing two types of people (click here to read James 1). The guy experiences trouble and out of that experience develops a mature faith. The second guy James describes doubts God. He is foolish and his life ends up being blown around like the waves, going here and there but never really ending up anywhere very purposeful. It is the picture of immaturity. In between those two kinds of people, James tells us that God has provided a bridge to go from foolish and immature to wise and mature, not lacking anything. James says that to make that transition. God doesn’t want to leave us wallowing in our own immaturity. He has provided a way out, unfortunately there are times another route is chosen that is not God’s way.
In psychology there is a term called “Locus of control”. The theory is that people either have an external locus of control or an internal locus of control. External locus of control is like the guy who is being blown about by the waves. External factors guide his life…always going with the flow of the people and situations around them. Internal locus of control is the kind of person who calls their own shots and is out to control their own destiny. External factors don’t budge them. Here is why I bring that up. For the longest time I thought having an internal locus of control was the way to be. Who wants everyone else to call the shots for them? I wonder, though, if faith is about having an external locus of control (putting our faith/trust in God and submitting to Him) that becomes an internal locus of control as the Holy Spirit comes into our life and informs our direction.
As I read these verses last week I asked myself, “Which of these two kinds of men will I be? Will I allow God to better guide me? Or will I keep trying to take control of things myself due to my own pride?
I think there are really three kinds. You have the strong-willed, internally-driven and you have the weak, ‘follow anyone’ types you mentioned, but you also have the soldier type. ‘I will follow my leader strongly, and not be blown off course by those around me’. That is surely the ideal position for a Christian.
Great point. There is a reason psychology textbooks don’t give that third option 🙂
I am going to print this post and your great comment for a friedn of mine who is in Air Force Basic Training. They says she can’t read the Bible except on Sundays – but when she gets mail she gets “Bible” input from those of us who encourage her with verses. I think your soldier message will also be of great support to her!
I remember when someone took the time to help me read the Bible and started me off with Matthew. I fought all those references to sheep hearing their shepherd….I hated all those references. Sheep are dumb, and they stink…and they depend on a shepherd. Wimps.
Then I realized…I am dumb, I stink, I need a shepherd. That’s not weakness, it is honestly finally seeing truth. Green pastures have great grass, and I have a great Shepherd. He bathed me.
If we just look externally we don’t necessarily see who we are…so I had to do both and still do both. Great post Matt.