Therefore keep a watch upon your spirit, that it may be controlled by My spirit, that you deal not treacherously and faithlessly. (Malachi 2:16 NKJV)
I have a recurring nightmare. I’m driving along in my car, usually downhill, when I find myself careening toward the back end of another car. I apply my brakes, and nothing happens. I press harder, with all my might, and still I continue to move forward fast to my impending doom. By this time, I usually wake up, my heart beating a mile a minute.
I have since found that this dream sequence is a common one among people who fear loss of control in their lives. Though I’ve never really thought of myself as a control freak, I have to analyze my actions and let them speak for themselves. Let’s look at what behaviors define a control freak:
Do I get upset when things don’t go the way that I plan?
Do I get impatient when my agenda for the day gets foiled by someone else?
If things aren’t where I last put them, do I want get angry at who moved them?
When I let someone borrow something of mine, do I obsess over how they take care of it, or whether they will return it soon?
Unfortunately I can pretty much answer yes to all of these questions, because at least at some point in my life I have been guilty of them all. But are these the responses that God wants us to have?
The plain fact is that the reason that the Israelites stayed in the desert for 40 years is because they wanted God to do things their way. They wanted CONTROL, and when things didn’t go the way they planned or wanted, they grumbled, complained, and wanted to return to Egypt. So God taught them how to rely on Him, to relinquish control to Him, and to trust Him to know what was best. If we sow patience and humility in each of these situations, we grow closer to God as we give Him control, just as we should.
If we are controlled by the Spirit, we will find that we live by the Spirit. Our life will bear fruit. But if we give into those feelings of impatience, upset, and anger, we’ll be controlled by our flesh and seek its gratification:
For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:5 NKJV)
Isn’t this really a matter of Pride vs. Humility?
The Proud man can take care of himself. He’s got things under control. He can find the solutions to all his problems. He doesn’t need anyone’s help.
The Humble man lets God lead. He understands that he is not God, and that God is the one in control. He realizes that he cannot solve his own problems and looks to God for help.
Which am I? Am I humble or am I proud? I know Lord that I am pround, and I’m ready to let go of the control that I’ve been trying to keep. Today, help me find where You want me to relinquish control, and help be ready to change my attitude when things go wrong. We are not strong enough to solve all our own problems much less everyone else’s. Lord, that we would realize that we’re only human! In Jesus name, Amen.