*Published in the Tuscola County Advertiser. For podcast information, please visit www.colwood.org*
Martin Lloyd-Jones once said that part of our problem in life is that we spend too much time listening to ourselves when instead we ought to talk to ourselves. What he meant was that our consciences, given to us by the Creator God, are quick to blind us from our sin. Christian or not, wrestling with indwelt sin is one of the most remarkable challenges we face on a daily basis. How will you deal with the anxiety, stress, bitterness and desire for control? Will you listen to your self that is sin-obsessed? Or will you talk to yourself?
When I say, “Talk to yourself,” I mean, “Preach the gospel to your self.” Permit me a moment to elaborate some more.
Think about the last time you were frustrated when something did not go as planned (so, something this morning). What happened? Maybe the person in front of you on M-81 decided that it would be quicker to get to Saginaw by driving 51 MPH. Consequently, you get angry because you haven’t been able to pass him for 3 miles. What about waiting in line at the grocery store? Maybe you have a situation at work that is draining you of your mental capacities because something is not going the way you think it should. What are we doing in these circumstances? Answer: we are trying to control.
We are all guilty of it. We love control. We love to control people, situations and relationships. What’s the natural outcome of this desire to control? Frustration. Why? Because things do not go our way. So what does this say about how you view the universe? Better yet, what does it say about what you believe about God?
The title of this article gave it away. When I say, “God is great,” I mean that God is sovereignly orchestrating all things to their appropriate ends. Right now, God is actively governing the lives of 7 billion people on the planet, while simultaneously holding the universe together. God is huge. God is magnificent. God is great.
The daily struggle for control in our lives is an issue of the heart—what it trusts and what it treasures. Behind every sin is a lie—a lie about God and a lie about us. If you struggle with anxiety and stress because you are obsessive about control, you, in that moment, believe the lie that you are able to sovereignly uphold the universe. Not only do you believe a lie about yourself, you are saying that God is incapable of working all things together (Rom. 8:28).
What is the difference between belief and knowledge? Belief changes you. We have a massive gap between our confessional faith (what we say we believe about God) and our functional unbelief (what we really believe about God moment-by-moment). The term we use to describe the closing of this gap is called sanctification. Sanctification is the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart as he convicts you of sin and comforts you with the gospel. The gospel can, and will help you deal with anxiety, depression and control. How?
The Father sent his son Jesus who not only live a perfect life (thus giving you a perfect righteousness), but also died in your place, rose for your justification, and is now Lord over all. God is great, so we don’t have to be in control. What’s the good news? Jesus is Lord of all and he runs life best. Rest in that work.