I will pick up on chapter Five in the next week or so, if you want to read it you can go HERE
It introduces the idea that God is not about control. I wanted to interrupt the chapter to post what I have been writing and discovering these last months - as it is in line with this months chapter, I thought this was the right time to post.
I know the title might cause discomfort for some, but before you label me a heretic or wonder if I am playing games with His sovereignty, please read the blog. I don't believe that's what I am doing at all, nor do I write carelessly. My desire is freedom for myself and all those I know - to be loved and become love...
God Is Not In Control, I Am
Ethan and I had a talk last night. He had briefly forgotten who he was (a son of Love) and in that moment he said some things to mom he didn’t truly believe. I met him in his room.
Now, I am about to tell a story that displays brilliant parenting and what’s more, I realized it as it was happening. Why, because while I was talking with Ethan I was ministering to myself. I'm a verbal processor. That means I have had many embarrassing moments in my life where at best I was talking to myself and it was brilliant, at worst I was talking to myself and it was heretical.
By the time I was done talking, Ethan had sat through a 30 minute message on the nature of our Father while I excitedly let Him know our heavenly Fathers nature - it was brilliant!
“Ethan, I don’t want to control you, nor can I.” I smiled at him.
He was trying to follow me. I could see it in his eyes.
I went further, “God doesn’t want to control you either, nor can He. Control is the opposite of who He is. Its as opposite as light is to darkness. He is never about control He is always about freedom. Did you know that?”
Ethan nodded. It wasn’t the first time he’s heard me say it. But never in this circumstance, as a correction, or discipline.
“Son, only you have control of your heart.”
This comment led us into the wonder of the Holy Spirit. We discussed how the same Holy Spirit that lived in Jesus, that empowered Him to live in the authority of the miraculous, that was with Him through His death, that raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at the right hand of the Father; that same brilliant Holy Spirit lives in Ethan. And one of the evidences, one of the fruits of His in-filling presence is self-control.
And here is where I began preaching to myself. You see, I believe self-control is the only kind of control God endorses. It’s the gift of choice and the evidence of His Spirit within us. It’s why there were two trees in the garden. The freedom in the garden to choose was birthed in the fact that God gave control of Adam to Adam and control of Eve to Eve. Self-control was the evidence that they are walking in freedom. It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In the garden, the lie that separated humanity from God was a lie of control – who had it? The fact is, Adam and Eve were walking out the perfection of their freedom through the gift of self-control – each controlling themself.
Then Satan shows up and distorts the nature of God with a lie. The lie? God is in control.And they bought it. They believed that God was withholding some portion of who He was; that God withheld some measure of freedom from them.
Do you understand that the seed of Satan’s lie was that God is about control? The idea that He withholds some aspect of His nature suggests an imperfection in our Fathers love – as if He is not always good. I believe this original distortion of our Fathers nature is still the foundational lie that separates us from His love and the fullness of our freedom in Christ.
The fact is, Adam and Eve sold their self-control and with it their freedom to Satan. And until Jesus arrived, humanity lived in that paradigm. Then Jesus came, He lived, He died, and He rose. He took all authority and He gave us back self-control. Through the cross and in the Holy Spirit we now have the freedom to control ourselves again!
The lie that God is about control removes us from the freedom of self-control. Self-control is His perfect gift to us. Its what sets us free to be fully loved, to fully love. God has given us the full freedom of self-control; the ability to control oneself, to chose love.
You know, I could control Ethan, I could force, manipulate or straight up shame him into obedience, he is only ten. I can make him behave. But someday my boy will be a man and beyond my ability to control.
The fact is control is about behavior. As a good father, I am less interested in behavior and more interested in identity. That is to say, I want my boy to know love and in loves freedom, control himself. If Ethan knows my love and more, our Fathers love, he is set free to be a son of the King. And in that identity he can control himself - behavior follows identity.
And we are back to where this blog began, I can't truly control Ethan's heart, nor do I want to. Neither can God, nor does He want to. He is never about control. His love is the perfection of His goodness and it's always about freedom and that freedom looks like sons and daughters living in control of themselves in the authority of His love.
And I am rambling a bit. But this issue about control has been burning in my heart these last few months. I have pages and pages written, many of them I'm sure will make their way into future blogs.
You see, I am convinced my freedom is found in the fruit of the Spirit – self control.