Control Freak (3)
By Kevin Probst
Our desire to control the circumstances and people in our lives often leads to strained relationships. When we compete with God for control of our lives only negative consequences can follow.
We struggle much to control our own FUTURE. It seems the more future you have the more you want to control it. My father had a passel of godly aunts that provided a spiritual foundation for our family. Whenever I’d come around as a small child they all seemed to have the same message for me, “God has a plan for your life.” I never disagreed with them, I just had no idea how to discover what that plan might be.
It’s still not easy to discern the will of God. I sometimes feel like a quarterback of a football team. The game has reached a very crucial point and I’m looking to the sidelines for a play from my coach. But no play is coming. The play clock is running and time will soon run out but no play has been sent in. Do you ever feel like that?
What does God want me to do with my life? There is an answer to that question. I can tell you that whoever you are, wherever you are, there are certain things God has outlined in the Bible that apply to all who would become Christ-followers. It is God’s will for us to:
• Pray without ceasing
• Give thanks in everything
• Avoid sexual immorality
• Submit to those in authority
• Be saved
• Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
When we read through this list we feel like God’s will is very general for all of his followers and perhaps he isn’t concerned about the specifics in our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. The immensity of his love for us is revealed in his concern about every detail in our lives.
Sometimes we miss understanding God’s specific will because we fail to grasp the fundamentals. When I was a basketball coach, on the first day of practice, I would gather my team and hold up the round sphere and declare, “This is a basketball. The goal is to put this ball through that ring at the other end of the court.” I would then explain how to hold the ball, then how to dribble it, pass it, catch it and shoot it. My players understood the message: as a coach, I couldn’t devise a complicated play to beat the defense and put the ball through the ring until we had mastered some fundamental things.
When it comes to knowing the will of God we must first master some fundamental things. I might suggest that when we ask the question, “What is it that God wants me to do with my life?” we may be asking the wrong question.
Colossians 3:2-3 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Getting our minds in the right place is a huge step toward finding the will of God. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” The dying part is difficult and we need the help of the Spirit of God to do this. We must die to the sinful pleasures of the world. We must die to our own idols, our own selves.
Now, the most powerful words are found in the 4th verse of Colossians. “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Christ is your life! When we ask, “God, what do you want me to do with my life?” he answers that question by replying, “I am your life!” We tend to focus on our goals, our careers, our marriages, our studies…Paul tells us to focus on Christ and he actually demonstrated that for us when he said, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” - Philippians 4:11
When I was a kid my mother would buy my favorite cereal at the grocery store. I loved Lucky Charms, not just for the marsh mellows, but especially for the prize that was in the box. I learned quickly that if you turn the box upside down and open the bottom end the prize would usually be lying there at the top.
There is something very special lying within every true believer. The prize within us is what gives us meaning, it gives us value and a purpose for living. That prize within is the indwelling of the Spirit of God. We carry this prize wherever we go. Whether we are at school, or at work or shopping or just hanging out, someone is going to recognize a difference in us and they will want to know the answer for the reason of the hope that we have.
So, the question fundamentally changes. It’s not so much, “What does God want me to do with my life?” The more accurate question should be, “What shall I do with Christ’s life in me?” If you take care of the life living in you I can surely tell you where you will be five or ten years from now…you will be in the center of the will of God.
Have you ever peaked into the cabin of a Boeing 767? You can’t help but be overwhelmed with admiration for those who have mastered the skill of flying and landing such a complex machine. I would be petrified to have the responsibility of knowing which switches to flip at just the right time. It’s no less terrifying to attempt to sit at the controls of our own lives. It’s way too complex for us. That’s why we need an experienced and competent pilot to take over the controls for us. We need to put God in control of our lives.
It all comes down to our willingness to surrender. Surrendering control of our lives to God is always a safe thing to do but our faith is often weak. Surrendering our lives to Christ means more than just accepting him as our Savior. It means we accept him as our Lord. We must vacate the throne of our own hearts and allow him to take his rightful place as King of our lives.
1. The Game Plan – Jeff Henderson
2. The God of Control – Rick Gabelman
3. Control Freaked – Dr. David Jeremiah
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.