I wish to expand on the idea we introduced in our last post concerning the idea of control in the Christian life and outline five principles pertaining to how control — or rather our surrendering of control — determines our success in the Christian life.
But first, let’s connect some dots and briefly discuss how control relates to the other concepts we have discussed in this series. Simply put, control is the opposite of love. You may say hate is, and that is fine. But in the context of relationship, control is more its opposite than anything else. When we seek control in a relationship, we have ceased to love.
And since love is the basis of our communion with God, how we do in the area of control determines whether we enter in, and remain in, the inner sanctuary (that is, Jesus). When we fail in the area of control — and by this I mean we attempt to control God, or we assume He wants to control us — we find ourselves in the outer courts or the outer sanctuary of our souls. Distance is created between ourselves and God.
So let’s now discuss the five principles of control. They are as follows:
1. It Is Not Our Job to Control God
We mentioned this briefly in our last post. We are not called into a relationship in which we control God. Instead, our job is to cooperate with God, for He is already at work in us (John 15:1).
2. It Is Not God’s Job to Control Us
We briefly touched upon this one, also. But this may strike some of you as odd. After all, isn’t God in control of all things? Yes, but that is much different than saying God, by nature, is trying to control all things. God may be working all things toward our good, and that good is our perfection, and that perfection is our knowledge of Him. But here’s the key: The knowledge God is perfecting in us is that He, being perfect love, does not seek a relationship based on control. God does not control us; He invites us.
3. When We Control Our Lives, We Control God
Most would see the wisdom of not trying to control the Creator of the Universe. Fewer, however, may see the importance of not maintaining control of our own lives. But when we attempt to take control of our own lives, be it circumstances or others, we are denying God the right to be in control of them.
4. At All Times, Someone Must Be in Control
Someone must be in control; the soul demands it. And this includes the Christian soul. If God is not fully in control of our lives, then we will have no choice but to take control of them ourselves. Call this The Rule of Control. The Rule of Control says either God is in control of our lives, or we are.
5. God is in Control
Down to the smallest detail. It was His idea to save us, and it is now His job to care for us. And He is using every circumstance in our lives to this end. (Matthew 10:29, Romans 8:28). One could say the Christian life is one lifelong act of surrendering control to the One who is ultimately in control.
In light of these principles, something becomes clear: We can only relinquish control in our lives to God to the extent we believe God is fully in control of them. Any attempt to live out the Christian life apart from this will simply result in a different form of control — either us controlling God, or God controlling us.
And since God is not into control, we will find ourselves partnering with, or being controlled by, gods that are not God but something else entirely.