Thursday, August 4, 2016

Is God in Control?

I hear Christians say, “God is in control,” all the time. Generally, when I hear people say that, it is when they are freaking out. “God is in control. God is in control. I trust Him. He is in control.” I wonder if they truly believe this or if they are just saying it, trying to convince themselves of it.


I have been thinking about this line, “God is in control.” If God is in complete control, then how can we limit Him? Matthew Henry’s commentary regarding Psalm 78:41, about how God’s people limited God, explains, “They limited him by their ways and their timing.” They limited God because they had forgotten how powerful and miraculous and kind and awesome God is. Have you forgotten? Do you focus on the negativity and the things you lack rather than the God who provides plentifully? Maybe you are limiting God. If you are limiting Him, He is not in control of you.
If God is in control, why is He working things out for your good? If He is in control, why does He have to work everything that happens out for good? Working it out means He is fixing something you messed up or that went the wrong way or got redirected or delayed. Maybe something was delayed because you were limiting God and He was working it out for your good. Is God in control of that? Or is He in charge of that? If God is in control, why does His power only work in accordance “with his power at work in me” as Ephesians 3:20 says?
Have you met people in whom the power of God is more powerful than in someone else? It may be because of their faith or because of the Word in them. Maybe they have experienced God so far that His power operates more fully in them than in others. Have you seen this before? It’s not because they have more faith. It’s because they lean in, so their faith is more effectual. They trust God. They have kept the Word before their eyes.
Faith is made more effectual by hearing the Word of God. If I hear the Word of God more than you do, then I have the opportunity to make a difference in how much God’s power works in me. My decision to spend time in His Word—is God in control of that? Or am I in control of that? Is God in charge of me? If God is in control, why must I choose life? Why does Deuteronomy 30:19 say, “Today you have before you life and death, blessings and curses. Today choose life”? If God is in control, why is God not choosing life for me? Why do I have a choice?
I want to pose that question to you. Is God in control, or is God in charge? Maybe our terminology, somewhere along the way, became a little bit skewed based on something someone taught us or something they heard that didn’t actually come from the Word of God.
God is in control when we surrender and we pray every moment and every minute of the day. Are you in constant communion with God? I know I’m not. If God is in control, are we puppets tied to a string, doing what He says to do at every move because He is our master? Or is He in control only when we surrender our ways, our timing, our thinking, and our plans to His? Have you ever fully surrendered all of that to Him, or do you hold on to your own understanding and lean in on what you know and understand? Are we mere robots in this world, or do we have free will? Is God forceful, or does He allow us to make the decision to surrender to Him or not?
Why doesn’t God force His love on us? Why doesn’t He force us to accept Him? Have you ever had someone reject the gift you have given them or return it to the store? You’d think, “I worked hard to pick it out, and they don’t even like it.” Imagine how God feels. He has given you the greatest gift! Have you fully accepted it? Do you have a choice? Does He force you to? If God were in complete control, then every man would come to repentance because such is His heart. But does every man come to repentance? God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, so if He is in control, then why is there so much evil in this world?
I propose to you that God is in charge. He is in control when we surrender and give it up and stay in communion with Him, when He is the one guiding us and we allow Him to direct every move of every day. I don’t know one single person like that. Maybe you are. I am not. I have my agenda. I have my plan. I stay in communion with God, but I definitely lean on my own understanding and my own way sometimes.
I know many of you are struggling right now and you desperately want to cling to the Father and trust Him. You want to cling to His promises, and you are saying, “God is in control. He has got this. God is in control.” You are trying so hard to believe and trust Him. I want you to know it’s easier than you’re making it. It is not a hard work because the answer to all of God’s promises is yes and amen. His yes does not mean maybe. His yes does not mean no. His yes does not mean later. His yes means yes. Amen means the end. The final answer is yes.
Yes is the answer to His promises. You can cling to the truth of this. You don’t have to say, “God is in control.” You can say, “God is faithful to keep His promise, and I am standing on the Word of God, and this will come to pass.” I can say this with full assurance because God’s Word never changes. He never changes His mind. What He does for one man He will do for another because He is no respecter of persons.
I speak this over your life today in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

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