The need for control can vary from oh so subtle to overwhelming, but we will all wrestle with it at one point or another (if not every day). At its root is a lack of faith in God. A deep fear of consequences if things don’t go the way we think and feel they should. A symptom for many is perfectionism and legalism.
I have the serenity prayer hanging on the wall of my bedroom.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Simply stated, there are some things that are within our control and many things that are not. Our attempts to control those things which are out of our control cause a lot of anxiety and heartache for ourselves and for those around us.
The key is to learn the difference (wisdom that comes from God) and to trust God with those things that are outside of our control; to rest in Him when we are in the midst of life’s trials and difficulties.
Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the coming events at the end of His life when He said:
Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33 ESV)
Just two chapters earlier He told His disciples:
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:25-27 ESV)
God has given His children the promise and seal of His Holy Spirit so that He will teach us and remind us of the Peace that Jesus gives us. The power of the one who has overcome the world resides within us via God’s Holy Spirit. So although there are many things beyond the scope of my control, I can rest in the peace of Christ, knowing that there is NOTHING beyond the scope of my Savior, who has overcome the world. There is nothing that God cannot accomplish. And I must remember that there are many things in life that ONLY God can do. In times where I am tempted to try to control people, situations, and circumstances, I need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and pray for God’s will to be done.
God loves to bless His children. He loves to show His great power in the midst of our weakness. Do we allow Him the room to do just that? Or are we trying to manage things on our own? Let’s pray first. Ask God to show us clearly our part in His plan, and trust Him with the rest.
God is sovereign. He loves us. Trust Him. Be encouraged. Press on.
Testing of Your Faith
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8 ESV)