Psychologists call it reciprocal determinism. It is the elegant idea that our environment is affected by our desires, fears and self-concept. We are either self empowered for good or self-defeating and heading for failure. It depends upon what we believe we can or cannot do. Consciously and sub-consciously we alter conditions and people around us to enhance or to destroy our opportunities. The results are called self-fulfilling prophecies or learned helplessness. Thus trained educators understand the importance of motivation and role modeling.
Some people use this concept to put forth the idea that we answer our own prayers. While we would not go that far we can safely be assured that we can help God answer our prayers. We can make choices that will place us in situations where God can do what we have requested.
We cannot expect God to help us pass an exam if we do not study. We cannot ask God for good health if we do not take good care of ourselves. God says, “Work with me. Don’t ask me to provide you with a long life in the midst of your jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.”
When I pray for God to help me be like Jesus I need to purpose that I will seek opportunities to help others. I will endeavor to be available when needs arrive. I can’t conscientiously ask God to help me be a light to the world and then sit home alone in front of the television day after day never going out except to get the mail.
Jesus said in Matthew 11. “Take my yoke.” That means working with Him. This is not talking about salvation. That’s a gift. This is talking about being useful in His Kingdom.
Written by Roger Bothwell on March 30, 2015
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574