I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.
Yesterday morning, I questioned myself quite a bit. I am currently trying to understand God’s concept of “control.” I do know that I don’t want it but I continue to clutch it even though I know that I can do nothing with it. The whole idea of “Freedom in Christ” is one I cannot get. I am a person of strict discipline and perfection and so to be free of this is scary and foreign. When I let up a little bit, I feel completely out of control. I don’t feel safe!
How do I release my control?
How do I give You control?
How do I release old feelings that are not of You?
What does it feel like when I give up my control?
How will I feel when I give control to You?
The more I submerge myself in You and in Your will, will my control ultimately drop away?
Does this happen because I’m more in tune with You and with others? Not myself!
I am not feeling safe at the moment, which may be why I woke with questions and these words:
Pray and Fast
I have to admit that this scared the life out of me. Where is this coming from? Me? God? Satan?
As I meditated on these words, I am most certain that to pray and fast is a quick way to whip me back into shape. Not His doing, my own. Not His control, but my own. I cannot allow myself to let go and let Him. As soon as I feel the control slipping away, I quickly latch right back onto it. I feel safe. I feel disciplined. I feel good. Currently, I feel myself losing control. I am scared and I want it back.
Leviticus 26:18 say this:
When calamity strikes us, we may not know the reason. It may be (1) the result of our own disobedience, (2) the result of someone else’s sin, or (3) the result of natural disaster. Because we don’t know, we should search our hearts and be sure we are at peace with God. His Spirit, like a great searchlight, will reveal those areas we need to deal with.
Could releasing control be seeking God first? Am I to ask Him to search my heart and flood me with His peace if I’m going His way? I can look back at past situations and discern who was really in control in that moment. I know the difference. I just need to acknowledge Him and follow through.
At first, sin seems to offer freedom. But the liberty to do anything we want gradually becomes a desire to do everything. Then we become captive to sin, bound by its “yoke.” Freedom from sin’s captivity comes only from God. He gives us freedom, not to do anything we want, but to do what He knows is best for us. Strange as it may seem, true freedom comes in obeying God–following His guidance so that we can receive His best.
In the past I would have taken this as:
I need to tighten the “yoke!” I need to beat myself up and get back on the right track! I need to gain control.
As a sinner, separated from God, you see His law from below, as a ladder to be climbed to get to God. Perhaps, you have repeatedly tried to climb it, only to fall to the ground every time you have advanced one or two rungs. Or perhaps the sheer height of the ladder seems too overwhelming that you have never even started up. What relief you should feel to see Jesus offering with open arms to lift you above the ladder of the law, to take you directly to God. Once Jesus lifts you into God’s presence, you are free to obey–out of love, not necessity, and through God’s power, not your own. You know that if you stumble, you will not fall back to the ground. Instead, you will be caught and held in Christ’s loving arms.
Perfect scenario of what I do in regards to my negative actions in life. I climb, I fight, I make a little progress and then I fall and it isn’t softly. I crash land at the bottom to only look up and see where it is that I have to get to. I become overwhelmed and give up. I give up until my life is so completely out of control that all I can do is start back up that ladder again. And the emotions that engulf me are pitiful. It isn’t until I think I’ve mastered that climb that my emotions turn around…success, victory, I did it, I feel good!
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Back on the ground I go! I am consumed with how I’m going to get back up. I dwell on all the ways I can move forward. The things that I need to do to win. I want those “good” feelings again. I cannot make it through the day if I am not feeling successful, safe and positive.
1 Corinthians 10:25-27
…when we become too worried about our every action, we become legalistic and cannot enjoy life. Everything belongs to God, and He has given us all things to enjoy. If we know something is a problem, then we can deal with it, but we don’t need to go looking for problems.
I really don’t know how to enjoy life because I am always on some sort of plan. It can be a plan for a higher education, a better job, weightloss, goals, dreams–the list goes on and on. Sometimes I wake in the morning and my aspirations are completely different from the morning before. I’m unsettled and scattered. I want to try this, I want to do this, what happens if I drop this?
1 Corinthians 10:31
Our actions must be motivated by God’s love so that all we do will be for His glory. Keep this as a guiding principal by asking, “Is this action glorifying God?” or “How can I honor God through this action?”
If I were to stop before my action and ask myself if this indeed does bring glory to God, perhaps the Holy Spirit would communicate with me what it is that I’m supposed to be doing. Why do I constantly have to validate everything?
I do not trust You enough to stop me in my behaviors. I do not trust you enough to turn to You and ask…is this enough? Have I had enough? I can’t see where you are leading me and when I think that you have let me go too far…I grab the control back because I am afraid.
Being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God’s Word, and the sensitivity to discern between your feelings and His promptings. Live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ will be behind your actions, and the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires
I’ve been held for too long. And it isn’t the bondage that I thought that it was. I am held by something completely different from what I thought. I was battling something that wasn’t really the opposition. I see it now. I’m equipped because of You.
I am most certain that I’ve contaminated weaker believers in my desire to be godly. By keeping laws and regulations instead of being thankful for what it is that you’ve done for me. I’ve put others in my bondage–living through it right along with me. I’ve lost out in relationships that have affected my entire life. I’ve allowed myself to be incorrectly yoked! How has this affected my life? How has it affected my family?
Both strong and weak Christians can cause their brothers and sisters to stumble. The strong but insensitive Christian may flaunt his or her freedom and intentionally offend others’ consciences. The scrupulous but weak Christian may try to fence others in with petty rules and regulations, thus causing dissension. Paul wants his readers to be both strong in the faith and sensitive to others’ needs. Because we are all strong in some areas and weak in others, we need to constantly monitor the effects of our behavior on others.
How sad for a believer to be freed from the bondage of sin, only to return to rigid conformity to a set of rules and regulations! If you believe in Jesus Christ, you have been set free. Instead of going back into some form of slavery, whether to legalism or to sin, use your freedom to live for Christ and serve Him as He desires.
1 Corinthians 10:33
Paul’s criterion for all His actions was not what he liked best but what was best for those around him…if we make the good of others one of our primary goals, we will develop a serving attitude that pleases God.
Lord…help me understand what you’ve taught me this morning and help me release my control to You! I thank you for never giving up, always loving, forgiving, saving and for never leaving!!
This post was extremely difficult to write and I’m still somewhat perplexed over what the Lord has revealed to me this morning. I will continue to pray over His powerful words! I welcome any feedback, experiences, and wisdom!!
I dedicate this post to trust exercises and to M.H.