Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

People sitting in a cirle in discussionMy name is Breon and I am a recovering control addict. I don’t need to be in control of other people, or even the leader of any group that I work with. No, my addiction is subtler than the average brand of control. It is the type of addiction that allows me to declare my submission to God verbally, while underhandedly making mental calculations on how I will fulfill my desires and achieve my own goals. I work to construct a lifelong monument to myself under the guise of “service to God”. Don’t get me wrong, I gave my life to Christ many years ago and I don’t regret that decision. Yet, every now and then I find myself meticulously making my own decisions without a regard for what God’s desires for my life may entail. It’s not that I don’t trust God…but rather that I am more confident that I can make things happen if I can control the situation.

I wonder how often average Christian folk vocalize a life of complete surrender to Christ, yet still choose to be the sole arbiter of their daily decision-making. We tend to approach God with life’s big questions– marriage, employment, healing from catastrophic diseases, and deliverance from the “7 deadly sins”. Yet life is filled with many little moments, and the decisions made in these times are just as important. Smaller decisions like “What do I wear?”, “Where and when should I spend my money?”, “Where do I eat?” “How should I handle this difficult decision at work?” …these decisions matter to God. Asking for his direction with these decisions invites him to participate in our lives in a more intimate and personal way.

As the king of Israel, Solomon gives his son some invaluable advice in Proverbs 3. He encourages this young future leader to trust God with all his heart and acknowledge God in all his ways. Solomon understood that though he had vast amounts of power as the monarch, without proper guidance, the execution of this power could be damaging. Solomon knew that all decisions made by kings carry weight, responsibilities, and consequences. There were no such things as big decisions that are important and small decisions that don’t matter. Every decision came with costs. Every decision made a difference.

The truth is that some of us view the small decisions as the only thing we have left of our self-determination. So we hold on to them stubbornly because the place of control is our comfort zone. As long as we can make those decisions, it will help serve as an anesthetic from the pain of the unknown of the rest of life. But at some point in our development as leaders with Christ, God calls us to walk even deeper into the ocean of trust where there is no bottom or sides that can be reached. Yielding all of our decisions to God gives us access to God’s omniscient wisdom and outlook on life, while also helping us to avoid pitfalls and mistakes. When we put our trust in God, we aren’t losing power, but rather gaining perspective on how to use God’s power wisely. In the highest levels of intimacy with Christ, there are no decisions that are made without his leading and guidance, not because we feel that neglecting to do so is a sin, but more because we genuinely love and trust God. When we learn to honor and value God in the little decisions, we will truly see his handiwork all throughout the tapestries of our lives.

My name is Breon, and I am a recovering control addict. I strive day by day to increase the level of control I cede to God. In all my ways I try to acknowledge him, knowing that he will guide me to victory.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

Are you addicted to control?

Are there some decisions that you believe are too small to bring to God?

What parts of your heart are deemed “off limits” to God?

How do you plan to increase your trust in God?

PRAYER:

Lord, I must confess that I struggle with wanting to hold control over all areas of my life. I hate feeling vulnerable and unsure. Yet your word declares that those who hope in you shall never be put to shame. When I am tempted to handle things my way, help me to lean on your omniscience and providential care for me. Today I choose to trust you as my Shepherd, my shield, and my Lord. I receive your love for me, and I renew my commitment to trust you in all things. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, Amen.

 

Explore online Bible commentary for The Book of Proverbs at the Theology of Work Project.

 

Image Credit: Paul Trafford via CC BY 2.0.

 

This post originally published on June 5, 2016
Tagged with:
 

One Response to The Need for Control

  1. Julie Teel-Borders says:

    Breon: Your insights and transparency speak to the depths of my heart.Incredibly grateful for you keeping it real and digging deep.