Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5 NIV).
Recently my son, Spencer, asked me to help him prepare for a psychology mid-term. Of course I said, "Yes." I have learned that a little psychology in the hands of a minor is a dangerous thing. He would be tested on several important studies in psychology including one called, "Are You the Master of Your Fate?" This study contrasted external verses internal driving forces of behavior.
According to the study, when people believed their lives were controlled by luck, fate, or "powerful others," they acted from external controls and tended to live reckless lives because they didn't believe their own actions mattered. On the other hand, when people believed their own behavior and decisions were directly responsible for consequences, they operated from internal controls.
People who operated from internal controls exhibited less risky behavior, less self-pity, and were generally regarded as healthier and more stable. According to this study, it is better to be the master of your own fate.
When Spencer and I reached this point in the review, I asked, "What about God? Is He lumped in with fate, luck, and 'powerful others' (aka: tyrants)?"
As a mother of a teenager, I want my son to develop internal controls and exhibit sound decision-making skills. I want him to know that the choices he makes will impact him directly.
As a follower of Christ, the way this study was framed presented a problem. My husband and I are teaching our son to rely on God's word and will in directing his life. This study seemed to say either you believed you were in control (good), or someone else was in control (bad), because when someone else was in control you didn't believe in your ability to influence cause and effect.
Spencer said, "So we're a bunch of unhealthy risk-takers."
"Ha, ha — good one," I answered, scanning the entire chapter — including the parts not being tested and therefore unread by my practical son. There I found it. At the very end of the chapter, I found another example of science supporting the reality of God.
This is when I had the bigger "ah ha" moment. Something was still missing in the premise of the second study, namely: the specific nature of Jesus Christ, who once accepted, resides within us. So in addition to being around us and over us, He resides within us — making Him both the internal and external locus of control for our behavior. I wonder what a properly framed study would show.
This was a classic example of how faulty or incomplete logic in the academic arena could erode a young person's faith. I told my son he was the "car's" driver; he had the God-given power to make decisions in getting to where he was supposed to go. The question was on whom he would rely when making navigational decisions. He could rely on himself, faulty maps, and his friends' misconceptions (bad), or he could rely on his Godly Positioning System (GPS), which was a completely accurate and objective truth (good). I received the eye roll my analogy deserved.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all (1 Chronicles 29:11).