Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nothing Wasted, 13: Control Problems

“Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15, NIV).

In a world of digital planners, apps that schedule everything, strategy sessions, and the constant pressure to live with long-term goals, it is not always easy to let go of control. There are many tempting and inspiring philosophies that compete for the attention of the above-average go-getter. “Seize the Day!” “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” “It’s time to take the bull by the horns,” or even, “…sometimes you just gotta honk your own horn, or else ain’t nobody gonna know you’re coming!” Although there is a truth and a determination that can teach great lessons from each of these mantras, it can easily feed into a desire within each of us to control every situation. If you are in control of every decision you make, what place does that leave God?

James addresses those who seem to have it all planned and all together, yet God has not been included in the process. He speaks to those who already know and have prepared for what they will do “tomorrow.” In a season of great division, rampant persecution, and an early Church that was living to thrive beyond survival, God could NOT be relegated to an after-thought. James countered that each believer should live with a life’s theme of “God’s will.” God had given them all ideas. They were created by the Creator to embody creativity. But their creativity and ability to design, devise, and design was never intended to render God ineffective or irrelevant in their lives. James challenged them to have a “Christ-centered” mindset in everything they were about. “If it is the Lord’s will…” The word “Lord” is one that defines mastery, authority, one who is chief, supreme, in charge, and in control. It was a reminder for who they were, who they were intended to be, who they were NOT, and who God would always be. 

I am not in charge. This is something I live to remind myself on a regular basis. I may have a position of authority, but my authority should always be lived in reflection of His authority. Life is not about me. It is not about my will, my agenda, my dreams, or even about my destiny. My life is about living out HIS will, HIS purpose, and HIS destiny for my life. I have been designed with great strategy and intention. I will not live the every day of my life as though God is an after-thought or a convenience. I will live intentionally to pursue His will for my life in both the short-term and the long-term. I will plan and strategize as I look forward to the future, but will pray for His will and His guidance before and always. If God is not in what I want to do, then I don’t want to do it. I know that there is no plan I could ever create in my limitations that is greater than what God has already crafted in the limitlessness of His divinity. 

Living in the reminder that God is in control will be a constant release in my life from fear, anxiety, stress, and disappointment. These are elements in life that I inevitably have to face, but was never intended by God to live in their control or by their influence. I begin this day by releasing this day to Jesus. THIS is the day that HE has made. I release it. I rejoice in it. I submit myself to His leading in the every second of this day. As Paul reminded us, I will “pray without ceasing” as a means of living in the constant reminder of who is really in control. When I live with that confidence that HE is in control, I will not slip into the fallacy that attempts to convince me that I’m in control. If God is not it, I’m convinced that I don’t want it. I surrender all of the “wasted” moments of my being in control where I have been left more empty that satisfied. It is in THAT surrender that I know that nothing is really wasted. 

Lord Jesus, I pray that You would remind me that every time I call You “Lord,” that I think about and understand what I’m saying and why. You are not just Lord by title, but You are Lord by definition. You are the chief and supreme authority in my life. I live today in renewed submission and surrender to You, Your will, and Your plan for my life as a whole, but also my life as of TODAY. I need Your wisdom for today. I need Your direction in living according to YOUR will and divine strategy for my life. Lord, I don’t want to live chasing plans and goals that are not in the process of the equation You have already perfected for my life. I need You. I want You. I need Your strength. I recognize once again, today, that You are God, You are in charge, and that You are in control. I thank You for Your faithfulness and Your love. It’s in Your Name that I pray and live this out today. Amen.

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