You probably have heard the term “locus of control”. It is a concept that comes up in my own conversation quite often, as a mental health therapist. If you are unfamiliar, or need a reminder, the locus of control determines the extent a person believes they have control of their lives. Typically, an internal locus of control would imply an individual believes they have control of their fate, that their future is determined by their own actions. Conversely, an external locus of control would be individuals who view life’s events and their own behaviors to be controlled by a force other then themselves.
I wanted to write this blog post to address this topic, very briefly, from a Christian point of view. As Christians, naturally, we would fall under the external locus of control. The Bible extensively speaks about God’s sovereign control over our lives.
Here’s a quick reminder:
Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted”.
Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,”
So what’s the point?
Having an external locus of control is often frowned upon. That is, along with an external locus of control, individuals can develop sloth mindsets. “If I’m not ultimately in control, what’s the point?” This can be the mindset of, dare I say it, us Christians as well. This is often the objection to reformed theology’s high view of God’s sovereignty. “If God is in control, why bother with things like evangelism?”
I’ll save that discussion for another post. However, my purpose in this post is to make believers aware of a term i coined, Christ-centered locus of control.
This concept is, that not only is the control external, but the control is personal. What’s more, the control is Christ himself. Not only is our destiny controlled by a god, but it is our God. We know who this is, and what His purpose is for our lives.
The apostle Paul explains to us what is true for all those who have a Christ-centered locus: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
So what’s this mean for YOU? Well, knowing that your control is external means that you don’t have to do anything, in a sense. It also means that you didn’t necessarily cause your situation. For instance, say a close loved one suddenly dies. Your flesh wants to be racked with anxiety and perhaps depression. “Why did this happen!?” Well, knowing that your held securely in Christ’s hand, it happened ultimately for your good. I pray that this realization causes you to stop fighting against your circumstances. Stop trying to think of a better situation that you should be in, and trust the one who brought you here.