Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsThursday 16 Jul 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
I was talking in Part 1 about overcoming difficulties. And I mentioned the word ‘control’. This is probably one of the biggest problems we’ve got. We want control over our own lives, control over our destinies. And we think we’re doing a pretty good job on our own. We can decide what’s right or wrong.
People say, I don’t need anyone telling me what’s right and wrong. I want to call the shots—I want to make my rules. I want to be the boss—and whatever I think is right for me I’ll do. The more insecure you and I are, the more we want to control ourselves, control other people, control our environments.
This is man’s oldest problem. Even Adam and Eve had it! God put them in Paradise, and they even tried to control Paradise. God said, You can do anything you want in this entire Paradise except one thing: Don’t eat from this certain tree…” So what do they do? They walked right over to that tree, to the only thing in Paradise God said was off limits. It’s interesting that Satan said, Eat this fruit, and you’ll be gods.
That’s been the problem ever since they wanted to play God. They wanted control over their lives. They thought they knew better. They wanted to call the shots and run their own lives and be their own gods. After all, what did God know anyway? And what has changed in a few thousand years? Nothing. We still want control. We still want to play God and be God and do God’s job in our lives and in other lives.
Control Over Everything
We try to control other people too. Parents control kids. Kids control parents. Wives try to control husbands and husbands try to control wives. People try to control other people. We are always trying to manipulate people and situations.
We hide certain parts of ourselves and bring out only that side of things that looks good to others. We try to control our pain. We run from it. We try to avoid it, deny it, reduce it and postpone it—any way we can. Sometimes by eating, drinking or smoking or taking drugs or by getting in and out of relationships. Or you may become angry or critical or judgmental or abusive or just depressed.
There are a thousand ways to try and control your pain, and none of it works.
Fear and Frustration
Pain and darkness come when we realise in our quiet moments we’re not God and we can’t control everything. When we are afraid someone’s going to find out who we are—that we don’t have it all together, that we’re not perfect and we fear they won’t like us. That fear drives us back to try and control more.
Frustration is another dark side of control. When we try to control ourselves, other people and everything else, we get frustrated. Because people and life don’t do what we think they should.
David in the Old Testament said it well, “My dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration” (Psalm 32:3 – TLB). If you’re frustrated, it’s the symptom of a deeper problem you haven’t dealt with. The root issue is control. You’re trying to control everything, and it doesn’t work.
Fatigue and Failure
After fear and frustration comes fatigue and failure. It’s tiring playing God. Trying to control everything—pretending you’ve got it all together. Denial takes energy, and so does control. It makes us tired and after fatigue comes failure. Eventually, every one of us will get to a place where we realise we’re not God.
In the Bible, the book of Proverbs says, “You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them” (Proverbs 28:13 – MSG). The first step on this path to wholeness is to admit my powerlessness. If I want to get my act together I need God, and I need other people.
The Bible also says, “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble” (James 4:6 – MSG). Grace is the power to change—our lives, our hurts, our hang-ups. We all need God’s grace, and the only way to get it is to be humble: God, I admit I have a problem. It’s called sin. I have needs, and I have hurts. My life is unmanageable, and I need help.
That’s the most humble line in the world. But it’s the first step to wholeness.
I believe it’s best to believe that God exists, that I matter to him and that he has the power to help me recover. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. This is all about understanding our weakness and seeing the dark part of our lives. It’s about hope. The Bible says that in admitting my weakness I find strength. This step is all about coming to terms with the idea of surrender for victory.
If I give up, I win. If I give my life to God, I then have the strength I need to live.
Dean Angell, 2009
(C) Lakeview Church