Last week I shared about how we can develop a compulsion to control other people, situations, and the Lord in this post. I thought I “had to try to control” other people and situations. I truly believed it was my responsibility and that everything would be a disaster if I didn’t make sure it all worked out right.
When I try to be in charge of things that are out of my control, I am trying to carry a very heavy weight that I was not designed by God to carry. This leads to extreme stress, frustration, depression, discouragement, anxiety, and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. It is not the path to peace.
THE CURE FOR MY COMPULSION TO CONTROL IS VERY SIMPLE
I need to have proper thinking about God, events, other people, and myself. I need God’s truth.
In my old way of looking at things – subconsciously – I saw myself as very big and God and other people as rather small and mostly within my sphere of control. I would never have articulated it like that – because it sounds audacious. But this is how I lived. You could see it in the fruit of my life.
I am not saying it is painless or necessarily “easy” to give up control – but it IS simple when I see the differences between:
- God’s responsibilities
- Other people’s responsibilities
- My responsibilities
Here is reality:
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Ps. 8:3-4
When I understand who God is and the place of people in the universe, then I can begin to properly relate to God, people, and myself.
- God alone is God, I am definitely not God. Not even close.
- God sent Jesus, His Son, to be the only Savior people need. I am not a savior.
- God’s Spirit is the only one who can open blind eyes and convict people of sin. Not me.
- God sits on the throne in the highest heavens. Every knee will bow to Him alone.
- God has put all authority under Jesus’ feet.
- Angels bow down to God, even the demons believe and tremble.
- God alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
- God reigns over the universe. I do not.
- God has all power and all wisdom. I do not.
- God loves me, and all people, very dearly because He IS love.
- I have value because God loves me and I am created in His image.
- My purpose is to love and obey God and bring Him glory – and to love others with God’s love pouring through me.
I can influence God, people, and circumstances to a degree, for bad, or for good (if I allow God to work through me). But I can only control myself – my attitude, my motives, my sin, my responses to others, my words, and my actions. And even then, I can only control myself in a healthy way with the power of the Spirit.
Just to recap, my actual responsibilities are to:
- Control myself with God’s power.
- Love, obey, and worship God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength – which brings glory to Him.
- Love others with God’s love.
I can be set free from my illusion of control. And that is definitely all it was – an illusion.
God’s truth truly does set me free! I can repent from my pride – my huge pride – thinking I was so big and important. And humbly receive God’s truth. What freedom!!!! I seek only to control the things that are truly mine and I trust God with circumstances and other people.
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND WILL
Within God’s sovereignty is His permissive will and His perfect will. God’s permissive will is larger and accounts for people’s free will, their sin, the effects/consequences of sin, and Satan and his influence. But all of these things operate in the confines of God’s sovereignty and only what He allows can happen. And He uses all that does happen ultimately for His glory and for the ultimate good of those who love Him – to help conform us to the image of Christ.
He doesn’t make choices for us or violate our free-will. That is a good reminder for me that it is not my place to violate other people’s free-will either. God wants us, more than anything, to have the choice to voluntarily love Him or to reject Him. People need that choice in their relationships with me, too. The price of our free-will is very high. For us and for God. We experience earthly and eternal consequences of our choices. But we can never fall outside of His sovereignty and even Satan can never do anything without God’s permission.
This is how, in Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He does the heavy lifting. He takes responsibility for the big stuff.
THE FIRST STEP ON THE PATH TOWARD PEACE
I can step down off of the throne of my life and invite Jesus to reign as Lord over every part of my life.
This means total, humble, absolute surrender to Him, His will, and His control. I hold nothing back from Him.
This feels pretty terrifying at first because I have only really trusted myself before. But as I taste and see that God is good, I begin to realize He is much better at being deity than I ever could be and He is trustworthy. Infinitely more trustworthy than I am! He is the only one who is truly worthy of all of my faith, obedience, and submission. I also begin to realize that trusting Him is wise and safe and trusting myself is the most dangerous place to be.
NOTE – Don’t just take my word for anything. Dig into the Bible yourself. Find out what God’s Word has to say about these important issues and choose to build your life on Christ and the Solid Rock of His Word!
RESOURCES ABOUT GOD, HIS CHARACTER, PEOPLE, AND FREE WILL
The Attributes of God – by www.gotquestions.org
“Who Is God?” – Secret Church series by David Platt
In the Image of God – by John Piper
A Beginner’s Guide to Free-Will – by John Piper
RELATING PROPERLY TO GOD
Humility – by Andrew Murray
Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray (free download or audio version)