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Digging Holes

Have you ever known people who seem too quick to say the tough situations in their life are part of God’s plan, or they connect nearly all undesirable outcomes with the schemes of Satan?

Perhaps we evangelicals have developed an unwholesome tendency to overuse God and Satan to avoid our personal accountability. For instance, if I run up the balance on my credit card and take out huge home equity loans to live large, do I then have license to say God orchestrated my financial Armageddon to accomplish a higher spiritual purpose? I am aware of Romans 8:28 and the fact that God can use all situations to the good of those who love him. I get it. On the other hand, there are verses in the Bible that say we are accountable for our actions. See Galatians 6:5.

Here’s the thing: We can read stories in the Bible like Job and assume that God or Satan are behind nearly all the pleasant and unpleasant situations and outcomes in our life. That’s a mistake because it makes it too easy to grant self-absolution for our actions, or inaction. Sure, there will be times when God turns bad events into positive outcomes in our lives. There will be times when the enemy brings hardship and pain into our lives. But are we mere puppets at the complete mercy of good and malevolent forces? If so, why do we have the awesome power of choice at our disposal?

Developing a default setting where we automatically pass off the fruit of our risky actions or inaction to God to use in his holy work doesn’t improve our inner spiritual health. It can be framed to sound lofty and spiritual, but it isn’t. You see, sometimes we dig ourselves into a hole with nobody helping us shovel the dirt. God might help us get out of the hole, or he might let us scratch and claw our own way out. Either way, wisdom is found in first admitting our responsibility for digging the hole. I’m just sayin’.