It’s time to get stressed for the holidays. The season is upon us and things are about to get a little stressed. So, I thought it wise to add some stress to your holiday plans. Isn’t that nice of me?
The fifties were the decade of the roots of Rock and Roll, and yet some of the most beautiful ballads also came from that era. Consider “Only You” by the Platters. The theme of that song is a romantic tribute listing the unique attributes of a loved one. One line says, “Only you can make my dreams come true.” What if someone would write a song about the wonder and uniqueness of our Lord?
Everybody loves a great deal, right? I was at one of my favorite retailers a few weeks ago and in their clearance center a hunting knife caught my attention. It was a model I had been interested in for some time so I asked to see it. The knife was slightly used, returned, and significantly discounted. Any knife would look just like this one after one or two hunting trips. I bought it. Continue reading
You’ve heard people say, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Proverbially speaking, that’s a generally true statement. We do tend to take people, health, and things for granted much more than we’d like to admit. We surely don’t like to lose the things we value and when we do we learn a tough lesson in life about what is of true value.
I’m sure you’ve also heard someone say when distraught, “I’m going to lose control!” Maybe they were angry or maybe they were about to violate their diet while passing by Dairy Queen. In either case, they intend to say that they are about to do something they had been resisting.
Control is often nothing more than an illusion. We don’t have control over most things. We definitely don’t have control over the people we share the roads with or the people we share life with from day to day. All it takes is a bad report from a medical test to teach us how little control we have. One phone call can change the course of your life . . . “Ma’am, we’re sorry to inform you . . . but there’s been an accident.” Control is often an illusion.
When control, real or imagined, is taken away we immediately relate to the statements I’ve already mentioned. We miss our control and want it back immediately. It doesn’t matter how young or old we are, we just didn’t know what we had until it was gone. And if we had the chance to see it coming we think, “I’m about to lose control.”
Losing control doesn’t generally look pretty. We’ve seen children just plain lose it when they have a toy taken away. We’ve seen adults just plain lose it when they have a toy taken away. Sadly, we’ve seen spousal abuse and drunkenness and violence as a result of losing control. We’ve even seen those who will take their own lives after losing control. People fall deep into despair when control is taken away.
We are control freaks. We are drunk with desire to be in charge of our surroundings. We want to live with the impression (delusion) that we are in control. People do this at home, at church, and at work. But we aren’t nearly as powerful as we think we are. The power of the gospel is accentuated by the weaknesses of those who receive it. We are unfathomably weak, sinful, and undeserving. We are completely out of control. The gospel shines with such power and greatness against the backdrop of our weakness and insignificance. This is why we call it good news!
We can control at least one thing . . . we can control ourselves. In fact, Scripture repeatedly emphasizes the practice of self-control. In the Proverbs it says, “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” (Proverbs 25:28) Paul teaches those who are married to not deprive one another lest they become tempted because of a lack of control. (1st Corinthians 7:5) Paul also teaches those who aren’t married to marry if they do not have self-control rather than to burn with passion. (1st Corinthians 7:9) Paul also teaches us that those who are competitive must exercise self-control control in all things. (1st Corinthians 9:25)
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:23) Self-control is required for those who will lead the church as elders. (1st Timothy 3:4) Treacherous times will be lead by those without self-control. (2nd Timothy 3:3) And Scripture teaches us that those who are maturing in their faith will, among other things, practice self-control. (2nd Peter 1:6)
Letting go of the perception that you are in control is healthy. It will help you be more at peace with the way things are in this world where you are not in control. It’s okay for you to resign from trying to be God. You make a horrible God anyway and you are completely unqualified. So, let go of the deception and you (as well as everyone else) will be better for it..
Practicing self-control is your task. God enables you, by His Spirit, to practice self-control. (Galatians 5:23) But just because God enables you to practice self-control doesn’t mean God will force you to practice self-control. God enables you to discipline your life through the choices you are allowed to make every day. God has set you free from slavery to sin and given you opportunity to be an instrument of righteousness in His hands. You have been “freed from sin and enslaved to God.”. (Romans 6:22)
Being enslaved to God doesn’t much sound like self-control, but it is. When you were enslaved to sin you were spiritually dead. Dead people don’t make choices. Being enslaved to God brings life. With life you have a choice. Every day you have opportunity to submit to God’s will with every choice you make. This is essentially the biblical practice of self-control. Doing your will every day is just selfishness. Choosing submission and doing God’s will is true biblical self-control.
So, stop being a control freak. No one likes a control freak anyway. More importantly, choose to be a child of God living in submission to God’s will by practicing self-control. You will be blessed if you do.
~ Sam H. Pace
This Wednesday will be the last Wednesday night meal until after the first of January. We need someone to volunteer to coordinate these meals beginning in January. If you are willing to do this, please see one of the elders. If we do not get any volunteers, there probably will not be any more Wednesday night meals.
We want to thank Nate and his family for all the hard work they have put into this ministry in the past years. Nate will now be in charge of special events—like the Movie Nights, etc.