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TTWMN 126: The Illusion of Control (Part 1)

I admit it—I like being in control.

And if you’re honest with yourself, I bet you like it too—that feeling of power, of security, of “no surprises” that makes us think we’re safe and we have it all together.  But if we examine our lives from God’s standpoint, we’d have to acknowledge that the control we think we have over our lives, especially our circumstances, is really an illusion.  So let’s take a closer look at the ways we try to control and stay in control, but also at those things that actually are in our control.


IOC Series Part 1 | Part 2


 

Table Talk Notes

Eve coveted complete control in the Garden.

Genesis 3:4-5 | But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

God cursed all women with a desire to control our husbands, but instead being controlled.

Genesis 3:16 | To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for (against) your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

 

Things we try to CONTROL

  • Our Spouse:  bullying (Nancy’s first marriage) or nagging, manipulating
  • Our Children (and all things affecting them):

• “helicopter parenting”, incl. Sports (play MY kid—you’re costing him a sports scholarship), hyper-protection or indulging all whims

• pressuring adult kids on school & career choices, having children, holidays, interfering in their marriages (preventing “cleaving”)

• failing to teach them responsibility, constantly “bailing them out” instead

  • Our Health:  going beyond “smart choices” to obsess on your diet, exercise or over-supplementing—doing whatever is newly-touted to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s or heart disease:  Dave Wager’s testimony (from “superman” to heart infection)  And notice how many joggers drop dead (heart)? Jim Fixx, founder of PowerBar, etc: http://www.unstoppablestrength.com/long-distance-running-can-kill-you/
  • Our Image: “keeping up with the Joneses”, “Sister Super Christian”

 


Prov 21:6 | The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.

James 4:1-6 | What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”


 

  • Our Security: Terrorism or Financial Security

Matt 6:19-21, 24 | “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

  • Our circumstances: encompasses all of the above—trying to do, eat, say just the right things (education, work, church, relationships) to achieve our ‘best life now’
  • Our relationship with God:

• trying to work for our salvation to avoid humbling self

Eph 2:8-9 | For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

• prayer to get what we want to have or happen:

•  Romans 11:34-35 | “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”

 

What can we control?

  • Our Minds

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 | The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Romans 12:2 | Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 | For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Philippians 4:8-9 | Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

  • Our Tongues:  

Proverbs 10:19-21 | When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

Proverbs 21:23 | Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

 

  • Our Attitudes:  humility, acceptance, trusting God

Proverbs 3:5-6 | Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Matthew 6:31-33 | Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

1 Peter 3:8-12 | Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

2 Kings 22:11-20 | When the king (Josiah) heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest… “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” So Hilkiah the priest… went to Huldah the prophetess… And she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’”

 

  • Our Actions:

Turning from sin:  1 John 1:8-10 | If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

 

Obeying God: James 1:22 | But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

 

Forgiving others: Matt 18:21-35 | Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

 

Exercising self-control: 2 Tim 1:7 | …for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 | Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Titus 2:11-12 | For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…

2 Peter 1:3-10 | His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

 

Reactions to our circumstances: faith instead of panic (see above)

Daniel 10:11-14 | And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

 

Surrendering to God: James 4:7-8 | Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

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