Friday, January 1, 2010

Do you believe in these fallacies about your life and career?

1) Everything that happens to me is either from God or Satan. true or false?
Answer: false
God, Satan, man's free choice, Nature.

2) If the work or job I do, matches my interests and talents, then it is from God - otherwise it is not. true or false?
Answer: false

1) This fallacy comes from applying the Book of Job all the time to the Christian's life. This results in a Christian who believes that everything is centered around him or her. That further leads them to believe that they are indispensable. In Job, God allows Satan to devastate Job to test whether Job will remain faithful to God. Yes, it is true that sometimes it is God vs Satan or Angel vs demon in our lives - but not always. 
God allows the laws of Nature, man's free will to also play their course.
So I was saved from an accident yesterday when my car skidded along an icy road, and stopped in the nick of time avoiding a collision with two fast moving cars along the cross street - I believe this was God, or an angel assigned to me doing his duty. However the flu virus I battle was likely from the laws of nature combined with my not washing my hands after touching office doors and elevator buttons.

2) In secular circles, there is a strong belief that if you are in a profession that matches your talents, then if you work hard and apply some key principles, you will succeed wildly and become a "great man or woman". An example of this is the book 'What Color Is Your Parachute?' by Bolles. Most career counseling drives along this direction.
This thinking has been carried over into Christian credo and even applied to spiritual gifts. An example of this is the course on spiritual gifts by Willowcreek megachurch founder, Bill Hybels, where natural gifts and spiritual gifts are blurred. This is a dangerous deception that has lead to many frustrated and disillusioned Christians (including myself) who feel they are waiting on the sidelines rather than playing in the game of life.

(for me personally, I have wanted to work in fields that were technical, innovative and imaginative but due to an average IQ and the narrow job market for immigrant visa holders, spent a great deal of my career in IT departments - the kind of work I disliked).
Here is the deception:

If your job or career does not match with your talents or interests, it is not God's will for your life. So quit your job and change your career. A similar line of thinking about marriage is, 'there is exactly one person in this world whom God designed for you to marry. if you are unhappy in your marriage, then your spouse was not God's will for you and so leave your spouse'.

However, if you are a Christian, then God is primarily concerned with you advancing the kingdom of God where He has planted you, and not so much with how successful you are in life.
Yes, fulfilling work and career success is a blessing of God. This is stated in Ecclesiastes.
It is also true that God heals and saves miraculously. But the time line may extend beyond our lifetime.
Read Hebrews 11:

 Here are the 'successes':

 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again.
  And now for the 'failures':

 Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
The reasons are given:

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Think about it. Imagine an American soldier in the Iraq war who is a Christian and understands the waste of blood, limb and life. He is on his feet 18 hours a day and may lose his limbs or even his life. This 'job' does not match with his career interests. Was this God's will for him?

Yes, God can lead you on to fulfilling work. Yes, God can heal and deliver. But if it does not happen, or until it does, don't think that God wants you to simply exercise your faith and wait. He wants you to fulfill your purpose where he planted you.

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