External locus of control and internal locus of control

Jack’s article was on Start Small to Build Internal Locus of Control was a bit interesting to me.

In general, an internal locus of control does correlate well to most successful behaviors, but I think this may be a bit short sighted in terms of being a Christian.

In particular, consider evangelism. Our mission as Christians is the Great Commission — “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations” — which is a goal oriented one that greatly benefits from an internal locus of control. Paul was a good example of this as a tireless worker for the gospel. However, Paul also understood that despite the fact that God is responsible for the outcomes of making it grow.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

This is why in relationships, including those between men and women including marriage, the big thing to focus on is to do what is pleasing to God at all times. You can control your behavior and your behavior can certainly influence the other person, but God is going to be the one responsible for working in their heart over time.

Going back to the main topic like this, I think it’s important to focus on being process oriented versus results oriented which I have discussed before.

In particular, being process oriented is an internal locus of control where you are most concerned about how you acted and you are not concerned about her reactions. Results should generally be an external locus of control that God is responsible with, though also understanding that how our obedience to Him can be have the effect of influence them toward the gospel, respect, submission, or any other Biblical quality.

This is why I say things like in Attitudes and marriage that I don’t fear my wife and I’ve counted the cost of getting married. Even if she leaves me I would feel hurt, but it wouldn’t impede me from doing what is right and serving God. If we fear any external circumstances and allow them to impede righteous behavior, we already enter a state where it’s most likely the case that the process has gone bad and the result follows. Yeah, sometimes the process is right and the result doesn’t come, but God calls us to be good and faithful servants even when we don’t understand why the results aren’t there.  

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6 Responses to External locus of control and internal locus of control

  1. Red Pill Apostle says:

    DS – Y’all are saying the same thing in different ways. Jack is looking at a PUA who says that men need to get to the point where “your level of satisfaction comes from your actions instead of her reactions, which dispels any care for whether or not she likes you”. Basically, the PUA has arrived at the point of his own internal state mattering because his satisfaction is in his own performance and not the result with the woman.

    This is very similar to the Christian man acting according to God’s instructions in the Bible and taking pleasure in being an obedient servant with the knowledge that God has determined the outcome. The difference is that for the Christian man, whether we see the results we think we want to have or not, we know that Romans 8:28 is true and that God is working on our behalf for our eternal outcome.

    The interesting aspect of this to me is that as Christians we have the true basis for why we should concentrate on the process while not fearing the outcome, yet Christian men in large part have great fear of outcomes. I know I am certainly guilty of this and continue to work on myself in this area. This is why the attitude of a PUA type is so interesting to me. He has arrived, through sinful means, at the internal attitude to life that Christians should have. To me, this indicates that there is most likely something characteristically masculine about the attitude.

  2. caterpillar345 says:

    @RPA
    You wrote: “the PUA has arrived, through sinful means, at the internal attitude to life that Christians should have.

    The difference to me is in what is perceived to be gained. The PUA has gained access to many women, something that (would appear to be) highly desirable. Whereas, the Christian man (it would appear) has not gained anything, and in fact has lost things or given up opportunities. The PUA gets the admiration of all the men around him (and probably some women too), whereas, the Christian man typically gets little admiration and lots of scorn from the men around him for the sacrifices he makes. For me, the scorn (or just perceived scorn) is challenging. I think it’s very difficult to come to a solid enough understanding and relationship with God to have the psychological strength to stand strong against that onslaught and continue to make the difficult choices. For the average Christian man taking his faith seriously, he is seriously swimming upstream against every apparently sensible voice around him in the culture and those he associates with.

  3. @ RPA

    DS – Y’all are saying the same thing in different ways. Jack is looking at a PUA who says that men need to get to the point where “your level of satisfaction comes from your actions instead of her reactions, which dispels any care for whether or not she likes you”. Basically, the PUA has arrived at the point of his own internal state mattering because his satisfaction is in his own performance and not the result with the woman.

    I agree with the rest of your paragraphs, but I’m not sure I agree with this fully.

    Yes, the personal responsibility for obeying God is an internal locus of control, but we also accept an external locus of control in that we are not just trying to please ourselves but God and we don’t have control — only some varying amount of influence — over the many different situations in our life.

    To me, this indicates that there is most likely something characteristically masculine about the attitude.

    Yeah, mission and masculine and feminine traits are a real thing. Sexual polarity and attraction are easily observable. Not just socially constructed as those feminists claim… Well, at least pushing women to be like men and men to be like women. Insane.

  4. Jack says:

    DS,
    Thanks for reviewing my post.

    Your assessment is correct, but you’re missing something important.

    “…the big thing to focus on is to do what is pleasing to God at all times. You can control your behavior and your behavior can certainly influence the other person, but God is going to be the one responsible for working in their heart over time.”

    Exercising faith is what is pleasing to God. You cannot please God without this. (Hebrews 11:6)

    “…the personal responsibility for obeying God is an internal locus of control, but we also accept an external locus of control in that we are not just trying to please ourselves but God and we don’t have control — only some varying amount of influence — over the many different situations in our life.”

    There is no faith in accepting an external locus of control. You don’t need to be a believer to think God is in control. In fact, a lot of people use this reasoning as a copout excuse to avoid acting on faith, and they still think they are pleasing God because of other things they’re doing right. Faith must be internalized and acted out of an internal locus of control. The limits thereof remain to be discovered as to what God will grant you as part of your authority and domain.

  5. Red Pill Apostle says:

    Caterpillar,

    “The PUA gets the admiration of all the men around him (and probably some women too), whereas, the Christian man typically gets little admiration and lots of scorn from the men around him for the sacrifices he makes.”

    A man who is doing the work to find answers, improve himself and live life the way he feels led to please God is going to ruffle some feathers. Not everyone will be happy with him and that is expected. I’d go so far as to say that this is a sign that you’re on the right path because you should not be primarily be concerned with keeping other people happy. But if a man gets scorn from all of the men around him, that should cause a man to pause and consider why this is. It could be that a change of venue is in order because the man is doing the right things but the group he’s in is not his type of people. Or it could be something about him that he needs to work on.

  6. @ Jack

    There is no faith in accepting an external locus of control. You don’t need to be a believer to think God is in control. In fact, a lot of people use this reasoning as a copout excuse to avoid acting on faith, and they still think they are pleasing God because of other things they’re doing right. Faith must be internalized and acted out of an internal locus of control. The limits thereof remain to be discovered as to what God will grant you as part of your authority and domain.

    Not sure I get your reasoning.

    Faith is both internal and external locus of control. We do our part to the best we are able in carrying out Jesus’ Great Commission, and God works His plan.

    Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

    ‘Good’ not always being what we think is good. For instance, Paul was writing this from prison which most people (even Christians) would see as a bad thing. But it was a good thing in that God was using him to write much of the Scripture that has helped billions of Christians for close to two thousand years and probably more. Also shows earthly outcome independence and other stuff as well.

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