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Control Freaks

My eleven-month-old son is a card-carrying control freak. This tendency of his to want things his way is why I had to clean cereal off the kitchen wall this morning. Since we began letting him feed himself, he wants to do this more and more. So when I approached his mouth with a spoonful of cereal, he swung his arm around and sent the cereal flying through the air. He’s a control freak. Not only does he want to be the primary decision-maker when it comes to how he eats, but also what he eats, where he crawls, when he gets his diaper changed, and the list goes on and on.

Caleb comes by this naturally. In fact we all do. We all come into the world as control freaks. Some of us may have developed more ingrained patterns than others for wanting to always be in control, but to some extent, we all like to be in charge. I know I do. I like to get behind the wheel and drive a car. I like to hold the remote control when I watch TV. In the technology world where I spend much of my day, there is a push to make computer programs, interfaces, and websites (and everything else) customizable. That’s because we like to be in control. I admit that I like to customize (basically a euphemism for “control&#148) my electronic spaces as well as my physical spaces such as my office furniture. I’m a control freak.

These examples may seem like no big deal, and I suppose you’re right. However, being a control freak can get ugly when we start trying to control situations that are impossible to control. Want an example? When we attempt to take charge of our spiritual growth as if it all depends on our efforts, then we might as well be trying to pole vault the moon. Committing to read the Bible more, pray more, attend church more, or give more money to our church are all good activities that might appear to advance our walk with God. Yet, these disciplines are only spiritually beneficial when we relax in our true identity in Christ, relinquish control of the spiritual growth process, and rest with an attitude of complete dependence upon Christ. While, God is responsible for our growth as a Christian, we are responsible for giving up control and then resting in His ability to live His life in and through us.

Philippians 1:6 says,
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Message)

Who will bring it to a flourishing finish? God has promised that He will do this. He who started the work will be faithful to complete it in you. Dr. Bill Gillham likes to say, “God’s job description is that He runs things.” …so let’s let Him do his job. He’s quite good at it don’t you know.

My son Caleb will sometimes slap good food away and protest when I have to restrain him to give him medicine. Why? He does it because he doesn’t understand that I would never give him that might hurt him. I will only give him that which he needs and would benefit him. It’s the same with our heavenly Father. We can confidently give up control of our life to God when we understand His character—that He will always do the most redemptive, constructive thing for us. If we doubt His goodness, then it’s because we can’t see the big picture from His perspective. God’s character is worth trusting.

Just as it is impossible for Caleb to live his life in his own resources, it is impossible for a Christian to walk with God on his own resources. So if you are a control freak, then slow down, stop, and repeat after me “Father, I give up being a control-freak. I know that in my heart I truly long to trust you to live through me, so that’s what I’m going to do.” Now, sit down and relax because He will.

Andy Knight

About the Author

Andy is the user interface designer for YouVersion, the Bible App. He has a passion for sharing God's story of grace and freedom through the internet. Andy lives in Roswell, GA, with his wife and three sons. You can follow him on Twitter at @andyknight.