Control Issues

Yesterday, I re-blogged a post from J. David Peever entitled “When It All Comes Crashing Down,” a thought-provoking post on the issue of seeking control when things appear to be out of control in our world.  Dave stated something in the post that got me thinking.  He wrote:

God is the Christian answer but is He the one in control? Pre2020 I think most of those who called themselves followers of Christ would say God was in control of their lives. During 2020 many of the same group would say the only way to make it through COVID would be to allow God to be in control. Would God, pre2020 during 2020 and beyond 2020 say that He was in control of most Christ followers’ lives? I can only speak for myself when I say, “I don’t think so.”

This got me thinking, and what follows are my thoughts that spring from Dave’s words.

Our “control issues” are rooted not primarily in a desire to control events and outcomes, although that desire is the fruit.  The root problem is that we are still trying to maintain control over our own lives on every level.  This is the root of all sins in us, the core rebellion resident in us since we listened to the lie, “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5 NIV).

We like being our own gods. It is the original sin, the rebellion that has marred every human being since Adam and Eve.  “All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, each one, to his own way….” wrote Isaiah in describing our human condition (Isaiah 53:6).  So, out of our rebellion we like calling the shots in our lives. 

This rebellion extends into our religious lives as well. We like having a religious expression we can control.  It allows us to “retain control” over our lives while maintaining (sometimes with odd sincerity) the illusion we gave control to our God.  

Religiosity always leads to double-speak about who is in control. And while we are practicing that double-speak, we retain and exercise control over all the fleshly and secular areas of daily life.  We are, in our own minds, “like God.”  Being “like God” is pretty heady stuff, intoxicating to the point of controlling us.

Jesus made it clear that there is no such divided-heart living in the New Covenant Kingdom of our God.  He told us, “He who finds his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Luke 9:24).   Finding our lives is at its core controlling them.  Losing our lives is finally and fully allowing our God to live His life in and through us, controlling all aspects of our thinking and living.  Thus, Paul’s description: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….” (Galatians 2:20).

We think that to give up control is to give up living.  How rebelliously human of us.  Jesus is clear – and for those who choose to travel this path it is very clear – that the abundant life of Christ, the living waters that over flow their own lives and pour out to others, come to those who surrender all control to Christ. The resurrected life of abundance and intimacy with our God can only follow in a life crucified to self and control.  Resurrection always and only follows crucifixion.

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