Note the quotation marks.
Recently I’ve read several self-improvement works, among them James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh. Among the many gems I have taken from these books is the realization that there is no such thing as fate or chance, and that we ourselves, through the cultivation of thought and corresponding virtues and vices, determine our own circumstances. I find that this makes a lot of sense, and helps dissolve the image I sometimes have of God as cosmic punisher, and sender of woes for some ostensible, hidden greater good.
The question I have: are there times when the self-abnegation of one’s own will, in favor of a surmised divine will, is in fact erroneous and harmful to the spiritual life? I’m thinking of such a case where the person considers “what is” as necessarily the “will of God,” and the attending circumstances as a God-planned fate, immune to change, only to be freely suffered and endured with a Christ-like fortitude.
Contrary to making these people better by an assumption of humility, is it really selling them short, handing them over again to the power of Satan? Does it suggest that, for all the grace and authority God gives them, they are powerless to freely choose the course of their lives, for good or evil?