Sometimes I find life and faith to be a compilation of contradictions. In Proverbs 16:9 we read:
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
Isn’t it strange that God wants us to plan but reserves the right to change those plans. How weird that the bible instructs us to
“work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12b-13)
Our “work out” versus His “work in”. How strange a marriage of contradictions that we believers walk out each day.

Often in life, it is in the letting go of control that life happens. You know, we are qualified to live life but we are not qualified to control it. In hindsight I have come to understand that I have not been able to control anything of importance in my life.. health, death, relationships.. these are all parts of life that we often have to experience and not control. I am sometimes a stubborn controlling person who gravitates to the safe recesses of my brain (where I can control) and have difficulty with heart concepts like risk and faith.

One of the cornerstone scriptures supporting our trust of God’s providence is found in the 8th chapter of Romans:
”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
It is another contradiction of sorts that God sometimes uses "bad" things to bring something "good" in our lives. Isn't it absolutely amazing that He takes these things (that we do control) to bring us to a place of trust where we become like Jesus. Makes you want to give up control ... even if it is just a small amount of it :)


  1. Taking ourselves off the throne is indeed the hardest thing in life and seems to take us a lifetime to do it.

  2. You assume that Proverbs 16:9 is saying that God wants us to plan.

    The contrast you presented in Phil 2 prompted me to see what other translations and paraphrases said about working out our salvation. "cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete" "Work hard to show the results of your salvation" "Be energetic in your life of salvation." Working hard is within our control. The results certainly are not. A man can dig a hole to recover buried treasure, but if he is even a few feet off the mark, his work is in vain.

    I also looked at different versions of Rom. 8:28-29. I really like how the Amplified puts it: " 28We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

    29For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was [b]aware and [c]loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren."

    God being a partner in their labor. The contradictions you shared almost seemed to show God and man being at cross-purposes (no pun intended).

    I also really like the way the Message puts it. I've included the previous verse as well just because it's beautiful in word and intent: " 26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

    29-30God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun."

    Thanks for sharing this, Bob. It starts my day off thinking about God being a partner in my life. At times I sort of get to thinking of Him as an adversary, if not explicitly, then implicitly.

  3. Good grief, that was a long comment! Sorry.

  4. Great thoughts Gary! I love the perspective of partnership.. I seem to remember a verse that uses the co-laborer word.

    Thx so much for sharing.. my blog is your blog.. long comments welcome :)


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