I Choose – Surrender Over Control
Who do we want to be tomorrow? The answer to that question is dependent upon the choices we make today. Our choices matter. In this series, we’ll take a look at what I believe are the most significant choices we’ll make in life. They’re not about who we’ll marry, or where we’ll live, or what type of work we’ll do, but about those basic choices we all have to make that are core to the values we espouse in life. That is the purpose behind the “I Choose” series. In this week’s message, we look at surrender over control.
Bottom Line: When we surrender control, we open the door for God’s blessings.
Something To Talk About:
Everyone has a little control freak inside of them. We live in a control obsessed society. From our kids to our finances to our jobs, we tend to grab control and work in a direction that makes sense to us. The problem is, it doesn’t often produce the peace and joy that we wished it would. Why is that? Whenever we try to control something that’s not ours to control, we’re trying to be like God. And that’s a problem. This creates a cycle of fear: the more we try to control, the more we’re afraid of losing control. The more we’re afraid of losing control, the more we try to control. Soon our fear controls us. The only path to freedom is to surrender and trust in the Lord. When you are trying to be in control, ask these three questions:
- Is it worth my concern? It would make sense to pause and ask if whatever you are trying to control, is it really worth your concern. Is it important? Life changing? Transformative? Nobody can control everything, so we have to pick our battles. There are some things that are important that we need to be involved in, but there are some things that are not. It is important to know what is really worth our concern because if we try to micromanage everyone and everything, we will be consumed and probably alienate everybody close to us. We need to learn to surrender our need to control everything to God. So the first question is, is it worth my concern?
- Is it mine to control? Or in other words, does it make sense for me to get involved and taking control? There are some things that make absolute sense for us to control and we should do so. Surrendering to God is not a license to let go of responsibility – it is not a license to kick back and do nothing – but if it doesn’t make any sense for us to control it than we should not try to do so. An example is finances. We can’t delegate managing and controlling our finances. We have control and we should control them God’s way. God calls us to tithe to help the poor and nobody else can make those decisions for us. It is not our responsibility to run or control someone else’s life and it is not our responsibility to comment on their actions. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” This doesn’t mean we don’t share our concerns with those we love and to share these concerns with grace and sensitivity, but it is not up to us to control their lives. There needs to be balance, love and wisdom. We need to learn how to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding when it comes to speaking to others and guiding them, then God will make our paths straight and help make our decisions right.
- Is it for God alone? The last question we need to ask ourselves is this: Is it for God alone? Is whatever we are trying to control for us or is it really God’s job to work it out? There are some things that only God can do. Only God can change a person’s heart. Only God can bring healing to a loved one. Only God can control the future of our children and those we love. The more we try to control what only God can control, the more anxious and stressed we get. If we are stressed, maybe it is because we are trying to control something that really belongs to God. Surrendering to God means truly trusting God to work in that situation. Trust Him that He will fulfill His purpose. It is not a hard choice at the end of the day. Will we choose to surrender to God or will we work to control every aspect of our lives and the lives of everyone around us? Philippians 4:6-7 gives us the answer : “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
- How do you decide which things you should control and which you should let go? How might being a control freak be less or an all or nothing approach?
- Is this worth your time, attention, and energy to try to control the trivial and the unimportant?
- When does trust (reliance on God) come easy for you? When is it hard for you? Why do you think that is so?
- Faith is active reliance on God. What does that look like in your day to day experience?
- Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Share about someone in your life who models this passage well. Why do you think they are so good at trusting the Lord?
- The more confident you are in God, the more comfortable you are with His control. Agree or disagree and why?
- Do you know why you trust what you trust? How do we trust in what we know as true when life feels out of control?
- How can a person balance taking responsible action, but also surrender to God at the same time?
- What is your first step and next step in surrendering to God rather than trying to control everything by ourselves?
Take one thing home with you:
We’ve all been on the business end of the barrel of someone who’s a control freak. It is not pretty when someone is trying to control everything in their life and in yours. It usually doesn’t end well when we try to play God. A good example is King Herod in the Christmas story. King Herod (who ruled that part of the world) heard about Jesus’ birth, and did everything he could to have Him killed. The wise men had told Herod that they were seeking the newborn king of the Jews—and Herod was determined to stamp out any potential rival to his throne. Herod, however, did not reveal his evil plans to the wise men. Instead, he urged them to find the baby, and then to return and tell him where the newborn King could be found so he too could go and worship Him. He thought he could control what God had set in motion. This story and many others in the Bible remind us that God is in control and He alone will be victorious. We should surrender to Him rather than trying to control what we cannot control.