>How Much Control Do We Really Have?

For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Psalm 40:12

David epitomizes the mess than we can make of our lives. Sin and shame leads to more sin and shame, which leads to still more. David felt like his life was so overwhelmed that his sin outnumbered his success. The weight of his sin was more than he could bear.

Have you ever made a mess of things? Have you ever caused trouble? Have you ever had to face the music? Welcome to the human race.

In recovery, we learn to “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” Sin is an oppressive master. Christ is a caring master. When we give the control of our lives to sin, our lives spin out of control. When we give control of our lives to Christ, we experience life and peace. Ours is not a perfect life, but it is far better than the alternative.

We love Christ’s care. He loves us always, forever and no matter what. He won’t reject us. God loves us more than any person we will ever meet. We are all in favor of receiving Christ’s care. But, what about the control part?

We’ll gladly give our life to Christ’s care, but the second part is to submit our will to Christ’s control. That’s a whole other deal. David saw that his control of his own life led to a lack of control. Many of us have experienced that too. But, this isn’t a one-time, “I surrender all” sort of deal.

It’s a daily deal. It’s a situation by situation deal. It’s a decision to follow Christ or follow ourselves. It’s a choice to seek Christ’s guidance or to think that we know best.

Here’s the deal about being in control: we don’t have that much control. We can be the healthiest people on the planet and get killed while exercising. We can be the most careful investor and still suffer considerable losses. We can be the most giving spouse and still receive divorce papers. We can be the most devoted parent and still see our children rebel. We can be the most faithful Christian and still struggle with sin and insecurity. There is not much that we control.

Control really comes down to just two things: who or what we rely on to cope and how we direct our attitude. Some people cope by working more hours, consuming more food, alcohol, drugs or tobacco, having more fun, starting a new relationship, surfing the channels or the internet, vegging out, numbing out – any kind of escape. When any of these things becomes what we rely on for our well-being, it becomes an idol in our lives. The problem is that none of these things can or will ever satisfy us completely.

If stuff could satisfy us, then we should all be satisfied. Instead, we feel the need for more stuff. Using these substitutes to cope leads to a loss of control. It leads to the despair that David refers to in this psalm.

Giving control to Christ is scary. What if he makes us do something that we don’t want to do? God will never ask us to do something that is impossible for Him to do. He does not control our lives like some sort of deranged dictator. His control comes with His care. Just like you and I want to direct our children onto the right path because we love them so much, our Heavenly Father loves us far more than any parent could ever love a child.

What are you trying to control right now? How are you losing control over that right now? Rather than losing control, I would challenge you to surrender your control to Christ. Even if you have to surrender 12 times in a day over the same thing, His control and care won’t steer you wrong.

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