The Controlling Spirit: Part 1
Are you ready for some good news?
God is in control of the world – so you don’t have to be!
I remember preaching on the power of the gospel to conquer our everyday temptations. Grace doesn’t give us a license to sin; grace gives us the power not to sin. And that includes overcoming our seemingly endless temptation to be in control.
We come into this world with a big bundle of needs and we continue to be needy as we grow. So God has designed it such that we would have parents to help meet our needs. In a healthy home, children find it safe to express their needs. And, in a healthy home, parents can acknowledge where there are true needs and, as they have the ability, seek to address them. But, in fear of our needs not being met, we soon develop strategies to get want we want.
When our daughter Abigail was two, she had already developed a love for French fries. Regretting that we’d ever let her taste the greasy morsels, we made an attempt to keep her from them. Unfortunately, we were at a restaurant one evening that had served fries at our table and Abby spotted them. We resolutely refused her requests for fries until, suddenly, the toddler blurted out:
I want French fries right now for the Bible tells me so!
Evidently, at the tender age of two, she had already discovered that the Bible held special authority in our home! She had also discovered how easily we lapse into controlling behaviors.
Here are some of the common controlling behaviors we adults are prone to use:
- shame, the withholding of love and acceptance;
- threatening – holding out the prospect of abandoning, hurting, or abusing
- deception – leading others into wrong beliefs so that we can steer them toward a path of our choosing
- obsessive/compulsive activities – over functioning in an effort to ward off what is bad and accomplish a desired end
-intimidation – molding people into behaving the way we want them to through a myriad of fear-inducing techniques.
The way to freedom from the spirit of control is to acknowledge how little control you actually do have and to meditate on the magnitude of control God has. You can let God run His world. He’ll do just fine. And that’s the Gospel!
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