Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Facts of the Matter, Part 3 - Control

By Dwight Hill posted at Facts of the Matter. The bold blue type is mine for emphasis.


In the last two issues of the “Facts” we have talked about how the McDonalds Company has incorporated three values into the production and marketing of their products; values that increasingly dominate sections of American society, including our spiritual lives: They are efficiency, calculability, and control. 1

Control: To insure the quality of their hamburgers, McDonald’s carefully controls the feeding and slaughtering of the cattle, the processing of the beef, and the cooking and presentation of the hamburger. In many areas of our lives we also seek to control the outcome: Our budget, our weight, our investments, our future, etc. Thus, it is easy for us to live with the illusion that we are in fact in control of our lives. But are we? Did you, for example choose your:


Date of birth?


Athletic ability?

Country of birth?

Giftedness ?


Are you really in control when you drive your car, fly in an airplane, or take medicine? Tomorrow you could be killed by a drunk driver, the plane you are riding in could crash, or the pharmacist could make a fatal mistake in filling your prescription.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)

If you are in business, the control of expenditures, production, image, timing, standards of performance, etc. is essential to the success of the company. Yet when it comes to our spiritual lives, Jesus calls us to relinquish control: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him…I urge you... to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice....” (Psa. 37:5a; Rom. 12:1a)

I doubt that there is a greater struggle that you and I face in our walk with Christ than that of relinquishing control of our lives: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other…” (Gal. 5:17a) But why? I suspect that for many of us there lingers deep within us the unspoken fear that if we really give God total control of our lives he will mess it up. We no longer will be able to have any fun. Or he’ll demand that we do something that we simply don’t want to do, like go to Tibet as a missionary. The irony is that when we choose to retain control, God grants us our request by releasing us to our own self-destructive impulses: God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity…shameful lusts, …[and] to a depraved mind…The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28 – selected’ (Prov. 5”22).” (See Jn. 8:34; Rom. 6:12-16, 19; 7:14, 25; Tit. 3:3)

Christ, on the other hand seeks to liberate us from ourselves and our sin into his wonderful freedom: “…If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:36) (See Jn. 8:31,32)

After walking with Christ for over 50 years I have learned that God truly gives the best to those who leave the choice with him. It is his intention that we live lives that are rich in purpose, significance, relationships, and experience. But we must trust him by allowing him to plot the course on his terms: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths… Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed…For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Prov. 3:5,6; 16:3, ; Jer. 29:11 – NLT)

QUESTION: Are you relinquishing control of your life to Him on a daily basis. How about on a moment-by-moment basis? If not, what is holding you back?

1 Alister E. McGrath, The Future of Christianity, Pages 52,53, Malden, Mass., Blackwell Press, 2002

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