The Controlling Spirit: Part 2


Though we’re tempted to “be in control,” we actually aren’t – God is. We don’t have to “control” our life; God’s in charge.

Are you ready for some good news?

Though we’re tempted to “be in control,” we actually aren’t – God is. And that’s good news because trying to control what you can’t control is an exercise in frustration.

We continue today to discover how the gospel liberates us from the spirit of control. No Old Testament character’s life more vividly illustrates controlling behaviors than that of Jacob. He came into the world grasping his older twin brother’s heel and spent most of his life trying to wrestle a blessed life for himself. Then, one night, he wrestled literally.

It was the night before Jacob would reunite with the brother he’d cheated out of his inheritance. Jacob had no idea how Esau would receive him. He was all alone. Suddenly, a mysterious figure began wrestling with Jacob. They wrestled til daybreak. The mysterious representative of God finally dislocated Jacob’s hip and then changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

Some years ago I meditated on this new name of Jacob’s. I was curious because Jacob means struggles with people, and Israel means struggles with God. And I thought, He was still a struggler; what kind of blessing is that? 

Then I realized it would be the sweetest of liberty to shift your struggle from trying to solve your problems by controlling people to knowing you could take your struggles to God.

God was essentially saying: From now on Jacob, you will be free from trying to wrestle blessing out of the world, out of people around you; always having to have the upper hand; trying to please people, deceive people, manipulate people. Your liberty will be in this: You will bring your problems and frustrations, needs and longings, sadness and dreams to Me. That will define who you are, and my people also will be called Israel.

The controlling spirit is always wrestling, never content. But, by the gospel’s power, you are set free to trust the infinite goodness of God. He was for you before you ever knew Him. He is constantly, eternally, powerfully advocating for you at every moment. You don’t have to “control” your life; God’s in charge. So you can rest and have joy. And that’s the Gospel!

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