What I want you to consider today is this: whose control are you under in order to stand strong in the face of the challenges of daily living?
“Do not let sin control your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13).
The Bible makes it clear that we are always under the control of something. Either we are under our Savior’s control or sin’s control. There is no middle ground! To be sure, sin, Satan and death were defeated by the cross work of Jesus Christ. Today sin no longer reigns in the life of his disciples, but it most certainly still remains. And the only way we can take sword to this enemy is to recognize that sin still crouches at our door (Genesis 4:6), and that we must always be on guard against it if we are to stand up under it.
Christian, being “under control” and “standing strong” is, to an altogether unsuspecting extent, under your control. By God’s mercy and grace, you have been called to play your role in the process of your sanctification and becoming more and more like Jesus.
“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. . . . You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:6, 9).
In essence, what Paul is telling us is that the power that is in us (the Holy Spirit), is greater than any power that comes against us. And because God is for us, it really doesn’t matter what comes up against us . . . IF we choose to be under the control of the Lord Jesus Christ. This begins when we shift our focus away from self and place it on our Savior. The more we focus on Jesus, the more we begin to be controlled by Jesus. And when Christ is in control, everything changes for us because everything changes in us. We must yield control of the One whose control changes us from the inside out. At this level of living, our hearts begin beating for nothing smaller than Jesus.
So . . . what obstacles stand in the way of you giving total control of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Do your possessions possess you? Does the approval of others control what you think, do, and say? Perhaps you fear giving total control of your life to Jesus because of where it might lead you? Let me assure you that you are not alone in that regard. When Jesus started taking control of our lives, Kim and I were fearful because He was leading us away from what we wanted and in the direction of what Jesus wanted. It was a very difficult process that took years for us to understand and totally surrender to.
Today we simply cannot imagine being anywhere else than where we are, serving as church planters at Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. Sometimes people ask us, “What does it feel like to be living your dream?”
We answer, “This was not our dream! Our dream was moving us in the opposite direction. This is God’s divine plan, and we only began living it when we gave Jesus total control of our lives.” Listen, Jesus did not save you to enhance your natural appetites and accomplish your current goals. He saved you to give you new appetites and new goals that will be for the glory of God and the good of all others.
So, chose today whom you will serve . . . and if it is Jesus, being under His control will lead to being overwhelmed and overjoyed with His amazing plan for your life and standing strong until He brings you home or He Himself returns.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that…Amen!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.