While I’ve learned so many lessons over this past year, this might be the biggest one: I don’t have near the control I thought I did. And yet, it’s so easy for me to still spend so much time worrying about the things I have no control over. The Scriptures make clear that we don’t have control over hardly anything. But you know what we actually do have control over? Ourselves. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And we read this in 2 Timothy 1:7: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
We can spend so much of our lives trying to control the things we have no control over and not give our attention to the one thing (or person) we actually do have control over.
You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. I couldn’t control whether or not our church has been able to meet. I couldn’t make my children be able to attend their schools in person. And I can’t control many other circumstances. But I actually can determine how I’m going to respond to them. Do you believe that you and your circumstances are in God’s good hands? If so, your circumstances do not have all control.
You cannot control how someone treats you, but you can control how you treat them. I’ve spent so much of my energy trying to make people think about me in a certain way. But I cannot control what people think. I can’t even control my reputation. However, I can control what’s true about my character. And I can control how I treat others.
You cannot control when and how God chooses to act, but you can make prayer a daily habit. I don’t know what you believe about prayer, but I probably could find out by asking you if prayer is part of your daily or weekly rhythm. God’s ways are higher than our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). We will never be able to fully understand why He does what He does when He does it. And yet, in some mysterious way, prayer works in concert with God’s activity in our lives and in this world. Jesus said this in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
What is one thing you’ve been trying to control, but you need to surrender it to God?
What is one thing you’ve been acting like you don’t have control over (behavior, response, etc.) that you actually do?