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Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, So a man's heart reveals the man.
Healing Insights, Control
This letter was sent from a counselee to a pastor after receiving this healing and insightful teaching in a counseling session.
Dear __________(pastor's name):
Recently when you led worship (and I've enjoyed every time) you made a comment about an area in my own life that the Lord has been teaching me about.
I don't remember the phrase exactly, but in the prayer time you said something like "...and Lord come and take control of that area of our lives..."
I have often heard and used myself, the same word in a different context - in the prayer of salvation: "Lord, please take control of my life"...or..."I now give you control of my life..."
The fact is that God doesn't CONTROL us! The word control is not used once in the King James version, and only twice in my NASB where the KJV says "rule."
It would be against His character to control us, as it would violate His gift to us of free will.
This whole subject came up for me in my counseling, when I perceived that I was working towards giving up control of my life and being able to allow God to control me. This was terrifying to me because all my experience of being controlled equaled being overpowered and abused.
What I discovered was that God guides and directs me to bring me to the place of making a choice. He does not force His will on me. Nor does He ever press me for a decision. He patiently waits until, because I can recognize His goodness, His care for me, His love for me, that I WANT TO and CHOOSE TO bring my will into agreement with His.
God controls nature and things, but not us; He controls consequences, but not our will. Jesus does not seek to control me; it would be a violation of my will and personhood for Jesus to control me. He honors my freedom of choice by His very character.
Nor will Jesus choose for me. HE WILL REVEAL HIMSELF TO ME AND INVITE ME TO JOIN HIM. What I see is that His way is better than mine and that it is helpful and assuring and inviting. It is a LOVE relationship. Not even a mutual regard, because we don't know how nor can we regard or love like He does.
I don't give up my will, I choose to join it to His, but I don't give up the exercise or responsibility for it. He did not make us robots to manipulate, He chooses us and wants us to choose Him. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." It is our choice to open the door.
Part of what blocks our receiving from the Lord is OUR control. The way it is talked about in the above scripture is AN INVITATION TO TRUST HIM because of His nature and character. It doesn't talk about Him controlling us. It's really talking about moving from mistrust or misconceptions into a joining with Him. Because of God's grace, mercy, forgiveness, faithfulness; because He's just, and He's the only one who is, of course we join Him. He IS by His very character these things, and the way we become like Him is to join Him. This is very different from control.
The feeling of being controlled, even benevolently controlled, is a reactive kind of thing because of our will.
Jesus talks about His will being the same as the Father's; a joining of His will to the Father's, a uniting. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus first said, "I don't want to do this." His will is not united with the Father's will: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS THOU WILT." (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus tells the Father how He feels about what He must do, indeed He asks three times that the cup might pass from Him, and He is in such agony that an angel is required to strengthen Him as His sweat became like drops of blood falling down upon the ground (Luke 22:43,44.) Apparently the Lord answers, "Yes, this is what needs to be done," Jesus unites His will with the Father's will, Judas arrives, and the path to the crucifixion begins.
This may not be an area of difficulty for you. But as I can appropriate this truth (I'm still in that process,) there is profound freedom. God will never force me to do anything, He does not want to control me, but He does desire that I choose to unite my will with His. The more clarity and healing I receive (and this is all in the emotional realm, where the damage was done) the more fully I am able to trust Him.
The difference may seem subtle to you, but I can guarantee you, to those of us whose experience has been to be controlled by the authority figures in our lives, when we hear that God desires to control us (WHICH HE DOES NOT!) something deep inside of us closes as we gear up to be violated, overpowered and have our vote taken away.
Just thumbing through Psalms, I found some scriptures about how God does want to lead us:
With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me,
Let me hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning;
Teach me to do Thy will,
O send out Thy light and Thy truth,