Have you ever noticed how you want to control God? I believe that is a very central sin that we all commit. It comes naturally to all of us. It is the desire of all of us. A squalling baby tries to control his parents. When they don*t understand what he wants he gets angrier. An older child*s temper tantrum is an effort to control his parents. We are more like that squalling child and that child having a temper tantrum than we care to admit. As we grow, if we are intelligent, we learn that we can better control our parents by good behavior. Good behavior for that purpose is still evil. We may obey them out of love and respect or for selfish purposes.
We think that if we can just control all things, life will be wonderful and we will be happy. That is a very harmful falsehood. Our control is flawed. Our control is sinful. We are too weak to bring about our control. Our control is not wise. Our control is not noble. Our control is selfish. Our control lacks foresight. We can*t see around the corner. We don*t properly learn from mistakes. We can*t predict the future.
James 4:13-15: Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Trying to be in control can be idolatry. Trying to be in control can be putting ourselves in the place that can only be occupied by God. We try to become our own God. I must say here that there are things that God wants us to control. We are to control them in obedience to Him. We are to control them as part of His controlling us. We should acknowledge that we can only be in proper control with His help.
Apart from God our being in control is not truly control. It is more like a runaway train. It is exhilarating for us to have our hand on the throttle until we run out of track.
Self control can yield benefits. We tend to over-estimate and over-value those benefits. We won*t be able to enjoy any of them after our death. The self-control that is under God provides greater benefits some of which are eternal. It can and often does include better benefits for this lifetime too. Self control apart from God produces benefits that are like bubbles that will burst. Benefits that accrue from self control under God are more like diamonds. The spiritual diamonds that God gives will last forever. We all need to somehow escape this useless dependence upon ourselves and come to total dependence upon God.
Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Romans 3:10: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:12: They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Dependence upon self can be rebelliousness in disguise. Dependence upon self can be a symptom of pride. Dependence upon self can come from Satan. Dependence upon self is Satan*s way. Dependence upon self is the way of the flesh. Dependence upon self is the way of the world. Dependence upon self is trying to be like God. Dependence on self can be an attempt to be God.
Satan sinned long before we did and that was his sin. Read what Satan said:
Isaiah 14:14: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Satan has continued his efforts to replace God, to control God and to be God. He even tried to get Jesus to worship Him.
Matthew 4:8-10: Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
We try to deny our need to be dependent upon God. Our being in control apart from God gets us in trouble. Our being in control apart from God always leads to disaster.
We sometimes misuse our prayers. We pray to control God. We pray to bend God. We pray to change God. Sometimes when I hear people pray I sense that they are trying to control God. I have a conviction that they are not praying within the control of God. They are praying for their own selfish or short-sighted will. Sometimes when I pray, I suddenly realize that I am trying to control God. Blessedly, God forgives that. I am very thankful that there are many Christians that I have heard pray in submission to God*s will. They pray knowing that God answers with a yes, no or wait. They open their hearts to His will. Even Jesus prayed under His Father*s will: Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
We Christians tack on the phrase in Christ*s name to our prayers. Jesus said that we should pray in His name.
John 14:13: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
We need to be aware that praying in Christ*s name means praying in His will. It means not praying according to our selfish desires. It means praying so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. It does not mean praying so that we will be glorified. It does not mean praying that we will have our own way.
James 4:3: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
God has shown me occasionally that I prayed according to His will. That is such a delight to me. He has shown me that I prayed according to His will by sometimes answering my prayer quickly and exactly as I prayed it. But the best answers to my prayers have been the ones that are slightly different from what I prayed. They have been ten times better than what I prayed. God has shown that he knew a better way to answer my prayer than I knew to pray it. I have prayed for narrow little things. He has answered by providing those little things surrounded by greater things. He has made those little things better by the adornments he gave with them.
We have the ability to misinterpret the Bible and we all too often use that ability to justify what we want. We try to make the Bible mean what we want it to mean. We think we know best. God knows best. We think we can see the issues clearly. Compared to God we have tunnel vision, distorted vision or no vision. God is wiser, stronger, more loving, has nobler purposes and knows and plans the future far better than we do.
We want a custom built God. We want to choose all the bells and whistles. We want to choose the attached options. We want a plastic God. Not so brittle that He will break and not so hard that we can*t bend Him. We want Him to fit our mold. We need to be fitted to His mold. Isaiah had it right:
Isaiah 64:8: But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
He has made us in such a way that we will be and need to be in His control for His purposes.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Isaiah 44:21: Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
1 Corinthians 3:9: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God*s husbandry, ye are God*s building.
He created us for His pleasure.
Revelation 4:11: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Whoever heard of a machine that rebelled and disobeyed its maker. We are the only creation of God with that capability. When we rebel we have problems. When we are cooperative we are blessed. We mess up, God corrects us, we mess up, God corrects us, we mess up, God corrects us. This is the cycle that we will go through over and over until at last He comes and makes us perfect once and for all. Jesus has the best way for us to be in control in this life. He makes it possible for us to be properly in control. He makes our control proper. He makes our goals proper.
Romans 5:17: For if by one man*s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
When we are controlled by God it is His glory that gets revealed, not ours. We are to seek His glory, not our own.
Romans 8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 Peter 4:13: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ*s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 5:1: The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
I am so inadequate at telling you how wonderful it is to trust Him rather than yourselves. I am driven to tears by my inadequacy. Only He can speak it to your hearts.