One of the most difficult lessons to learn in life is about control. We all have certain outcomes which we want to see happen in life, and we think that we can achieve those outcomes by our controlling things. So we try to control our husband or wife so we can get what we want around home. We try to control our children so they will stay out of trouble and grow up to be good kids. We try to control conversations to avoid topics unsavory to us and to talk about ourselves. We try to control meetings so we can get the decisions we want. We try to control our friends because we think we know what is best for them. You can add others.
But here’s the real kicker. We try to control our own lives! Now, how’s that working out for you? I’m sure you are exactly where you expected to be at this time in your life - right?! And what about this? We can’t even control ourselves!! When’s the last time that you ...had bad thoughts? ...let your anger control you? ...spoke an unkind word? ...ate too much for dinner? ...bought something you didn’t need? ...failed to thank someone? ...looked down on someone else? ...covered up your own mistake? True self-control comes only by the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
One thing a Christian surely ought to know is that life is in the hands of God. “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21). Jesus told Nicodemus that it is the Holy Spirit who influences and guides the Christian (John 3:8). We ought to be careful when we find ourselves trying to control people and outcomes lest we find ourselves in opposition to God.
One of the best illustrations for all of this is when Jesus spoke to Peter about his future: “...when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18). Control belongs to the sovereign God of the universe. Let’s not play God.