Productive Wilderness Life Series (Part 6) – Integrating the Fa
Sonship Identity Versus Slave Mentalities
Dependence or dominance is about control, legalism. It is Basic Trust versus Self-protection. As basic trust increases, your capacity for initiative and freedom from powerlessness lies increases.
Another way of understanding Basic Trust is the concept of Internal Locus of Control. Internal control is a way to measure a person’s sonship identity versus slave mentalities.
Internal and External Locus of Control
Psychologists have an interesting way to explain a slave mentality versus trusting in love – it’s Internal versus External Locus of Control. It has to do with a person’s’ view of where the control over things in their life resides.
Internal control is the ability to trust and to act in faith, even when there are no guarantees. It comes from the values we have internalized of God loving us and being with us. By knowing this, we can take action in life.
Like in childhood development, if the child is given some autonomy he learns to make decisions and face the corresponding consequences. Then, as he matures he becomes more self-directing with internal control – he takes personal responsibility.
External control is those things we look to from other people, their commands, beliefs, and wishes. We tend to view these as unchangeables, things we are powerless over.
A victim mentality is a form of external control – my life is controlled by others who are seen as the ones who “matter” and hold all the power. So why try? We think: “No matter how hard I study the teacher is just against me.” Or, “The boss just doesn’t like me.”
A prime example is how poverty-stricken areas focus on the lack of governmental help. This mentality is looking for an “outside” source to help them, some sort of intervention rather than looking internally as to what could be their own resources or ideas.
This is fostered in abusive homes where the child grows up with feelings of helplessness.
A person who has “never grown up” always places blame and responsibility on others. If you speak to many inmates who are incarcerated, they say they are innocent, it is not their fault they’re in jail.
Such a person takes little or no initiative and is tossed by every wind of other people who are seen as the ones who really matter.
Facing our wilderness life issues will help clarify the differences of internal and external controls that all of us have at some level. Any expression of powerlessness whether it’s your spouse who is “impossible” to talk to or your boss who will “never let you get ahead” or your pastor who “never promotes you” is outward locus of control.
Gal 6:3-5 for if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.
We have covered legalism in two posts now. It is a hugely important topic and so often hugely misunderstood. Galatians 4 talks about little children (immature believers) being under tutors and governors, “no different than a slave”, until they receive “adoption to sonship”, our sonship identity. Then our hearts “call out Abba Father”, we live by love rather than law. Father’s love is being integrated. This is an experience, not just head knowledge. There is no other path into Christian maturity nor the overcoming life without this experience.
So everyone battles legalism at some level, especially when we find ourselves in the wilderness. We all have external “religious” patterns that we follow, what we feel displays a Christian, what we think will protect us, etc., but these externals get stripped away as we interact with “difficult people” and come through the wilderness into deeper sonship identity.
Next time we look at being governed by love.