I seem to be teetering on the edge of something, and I think that “something” is good. I wonder about it, though. I wonder why I am hesitating to move in the direction of God. God is amazing, magnificent, and on my side. He desires my good, and He is goodness and kindness and gentleness.
In the last few days, I have read many articles, journaled to go deeper into thought over the things I have read, and I have talked to pastors, and other people of faith I feel are more reliable in their faith than I am. I am trying to understand what my problem is. Why am I unwilling to move on in my journey with God? I think I have a possibility. I first thought my hesitancy was because I didn’t want to give up control of my life. I was afraid that if I go with God, I will not be in control, and that seems to be very important to me. After all, “control” is how I have gotten myself out of a lot of tight spots, out of defeated places, and out of dozens of bad decisions. Control equals survival to me! So giving up control feels a little like a death wish. More on this later.
It’s pretty sad when I think giving up control that has brought me a lot of disasters is still my comfort. Would I really settle for the “same old, same old” just to retain my control over my life? Am I really that crazy? Is it because I don’t trust God? God has been amazingly faithful, merciful, and compassionate to me over the years. So, not trusting God doesn’t make sense. Is it that obeying Him and following Jesus seems like too big of a sacrifice? The Scripture about anyone who wants to save their life must lose it (Matt 10:39) comes to mind.
Today I read something that put my dilemma in perspective. It’s from John Eldredge’s devotional, “Restoration Year.” He writes, “I always felt it strange that God needed to command us to love Him. (it is the first and greatest commandment) When God calls us to love Him as our “first love,” it is not only because He deserves to hold that place in our hearts, but also because He knows what pain will come when we get that out of order. If you give the part of your soul that is meant for God to lesser things, they will break your heart because they cannot possibly come through for you. Only He will never leave you or forsake you. The command is a rescue from disaster.”
Disaster! Doesn’t that just sum up my life of control? Isn’t a life not leading to failure precisely what I want? Doesn’t everyone?
C.S. Lewis writes in his book, Mere Christianity, “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life, and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions, and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life.”
He goes on to say that nothing that has not died will be raised from the dead and that nothing that we have not given away will ever really be ours. That’s it! If I don’t give control of my life to God, if I am not willing to allow my ambitions and favorite wishes to die and come fresh and unencumbered to Him, the entanglement will lead to further disaster because I have it all backward. God loved me and planned for my redemption and relationship before the foundation of the world was set. While He was speaking light into existence, He was preparing for my darkness to be consumed by his Light.
- S. Lewis continues, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. (sounds like Facebook) But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and your favorite dreams will be thrown in.”
God is calling all of us into a relationship through and with Christ. Everything, EVERYTHING God does, he does in love because that is who He is.
The problem lies with me. Do I love God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do I trust his perfect, never-going-to-let-me-down love? Or am I going to clutch my pathetic idea of control?
The first and greatest commandment is God’s rescue. His Holy Spirit is my Comforter. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. The choice seems simple, but I have grown up in the world just like everyone else, and it feels like home. Familiarity has its comfort and its cost. I’m going to spend a few days examining my love for God and my apparent love of control. Of course, I know what I should do, but upon a realistic look at my heart—well, I do not see it.
I’ll get back with you, but in the meantime, think about where you stand.