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If you have been around the Christian circle for any amount of time, you’ve more than likely heard this phrase: “God just wants to teach me I am not in control.”
To a point, I would agree- there are many things that are out of our control: the traffic, the weather, the economy, our children, our hair, other people.
However, was one of God’s goals to teach us that we have no control in our lives? If we have no control in our lives we have no hope, no balance and no direction. If this is the case, what happens to a world of people who feel they have no control over their lives?
YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN CONTROL
Starting in Genesis, we learn that free will is established. What is free will? Free will is the power to exercise control over our own lives. It means we make choices between right and wrong. When we get to the story of Cain and Abel, God is telling Cain, “sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Do you see what God is saying here? God does not tell Cain he is out of control, that he might as well give up, that he just needs to learn he is not in control. No, God says plainly that Cain has the ability to master sin. If he has the ability, I would argue that he inherently has control.
Fast forward to the time of Jesus and you find a tremendous amount about how He thinks we can control things in our lives. By taking the entirety of what Jesus teaches, one can find instructions on how to handle grief and pain, how to be merciful and be peacemakers in times of upheaval; on how to deal with ourselves before ever trying to approach our sister...basically on how to control the internal world of our mind even when the external world is in chaos. For we are assured we will have trouble in this world, but that we can take heart for Jesus has overcome the world.
Just how did Jesus overcome the world? By showing us that we do have control over our minds...and that in doing so one can create behaviors that are worthy of being called righteous. Put another way, when one learns to control their mind - as Jesus displayed in his life - then you can mature into adulthood with adult behaviors.
But just exactly how does one do this? How does one take control over their minds in order to act like an adult?
THE LINK IS WHAT YOU THINK
Let’s start here: Life is full of events - traffic stalling, kids yelling, bosses demanding, husbands needing. These events lead us to develop feelings along the lines of anger, tension, resentment, etc. These feelings then influence the behaviors, behaviors that we often times regret later, that are - shall we say - not adult-like.[i]
At first, it seems like we cannot directly control our feelings. Our feelings are feelings and thus, we could conclude that we are out of control with our behaviors because we cannot control our feelings. However, we forget to consider the thought about the event, which actually produces the feeling, which then produces the behavior. With some simple detective work we can see a path to changing our behavior:
1) Figure out what thoughts you were having about the event
The link to changing your behavior is to change your thoughts. By taking captive every thought and seeing if it mimics how Christ explained the world, and changing the thoughts that do not...you now have a clear cut path to claiming control over your life through your behavior.
You CAN RENEW your mind by TRANSFORMING your thinking.
You DO HAVE THE INHERENT POWER that God told Cain he had.
You DO HAVE CONTROL in your life, and thus CAN IMPACT the world outside of you.
When you take ownership of your mind by taking ownership of your thoughts - you will learn that you do have control over your world - over how you act and react to your world - and that this is the real lesson God has for each one of us.
HOW WILL YOU CHOOSE TO USE YOUR INHERENT CONTROL?
Holli McCormick is better known as the Joy Gal, writing about her personal journey out of bondage to self-doubt, self-criticisms and people-pleasing tendencies over at Practice Joy.