The Battle for Control.

This world is under the illusion of control. It is like the world is living inside of a master magician’s show. The reason it seems this way, to those awakened by the Spirit of God, is because it is true.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Satan has pulled the world over our eyes and we can’t see reality until we allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to reveal life as it really is. The movie “The Matrix” is a great cinematic illustration of the fact that we walk around blinded by the world system, which in the movie is called the Matrix. We need Jesus to perform a miracle on each one of us reminiscent of the healing of the blind man where He spit on the ground and made a mud pack to cover the eyes of the man and then had him wash in the pool of Shalom. Jesus always has a deeper meaning to everything He does and this story is no exception. The mud represented His humanity and the fact that we can’t see past Him as a man in order to recognize Him as God. Jesus is living water and it’s not until He washes the world out of our eyes that we can see Him for who He really is. Once we see Jesus, then reality comes clearly into view.

We then start to see the shell game that satan has the world playing called control. He has everyone chasing the illusion of control instead of the reality of Jesus. Isn’t control the very thing that brought about satan’s fall?

Isaiah 14:14 I will make myself like the Most High.

Satan thought of himself on equal terms with his creator and he tried to seize control of the throne and take control of the universe. Didn’t he offer the same illusion of control to Eve in the Garden?

Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Eve took the bait and literally bit it. Adam joined her in their quest for control and lost paradise. If satan can get us to spend our lives trying to make ourselves happy by trying to control our circumstances and everyone who enters our life, then he can keep us from recognizing reality. Reality is found in one person and that is Jesus. That is why He calls Himself the truth because He represents reality or should I say He is reality.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

As this verse tells us, not only is He the truth but He is also life itself and He is the only portal into this eternal reality. I propose that the opposite of love is not hate but control. Control is creating the illusion of love to the other person to lure them in as we suck the life out them by trying to make ourselves happy at their expense. This is the exact opposite of how God defines love.

1 Corinthians 13: 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

We can’t be controlling and loving at the same time. They are mutually exclusive. A great exercise is to take this great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13) and substitute the word love for control and read it. Lets use the above verse as an example. “Control does not honor others, it is self-seeking, it is easily angered, it keeps record of wrongs.”

You are probably saying about now “what about all of the commands to be under God’s control”? God has given us the choice to say no to Him or there would be no appeals in Bible to turn to Him and respond to His love. Responding to love is voluntary. When true love is received it controls us in the sense that we voluntarily want to follow and love in response to true love.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this that one died for all therefore all died;

You can’t force anyone to live for another through control. You can only create love in another by demonstrating as an example the kind of love that you have yourself. God puts His love inside of us when we receive it and it motivates us to live for Jesus and others in a greater cause than self.

2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Jesus showed us how to love but He never forces it on us because it cost Him everything. He demonstrates love and did it publicly. The crucifixion was the polar opposite of control.

Romans 5:88 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This verse is trying to get across the concept that not only is God not trying to control us into loving Him but also that He demonstrated self-sacrificing love while we were at our absolute worst in rejecting Him. This demonstration of love is meant to attract us into a loving response. It is not control, as we think of it in fleshly terms. If love were about control, do you not think the Creator of the universe could control us? He gave each one of us a choice to respond to Him in love or not.

A prison guard can force compliance and control the prisoner’s outside actions but he can’t make the prisoner love him. In fact God has so wired us as to bristle under the assault of control even when it comes from someone we are in relationship with. We know at the core of our being that when someone is trying to control us that it is not an expression of love. That is why God doesn’t try to control us in the sense of forcing us to love Him. He expresses His love in such a jaw dropping, incomprehensible way that we want to be enmeshed in it. But we always have the choice of stepping out from under it. In fact, we frequently do so because we want control. We decide we want to take over because God isn’t handling our circumstances in the manner and speed that we desire. Without really realizing what we are doing, we temporarily or permanently dethrone God in our lives for the sake of the illusion of control.

I would argue that at the very core of our sin nature is control. It is the thing that satan desires most and he infected the human race with his disease in the Garden of Eden when he inspired Adam and Eve to grab control and determine what was good and evil on their own terms.

You see God created us with a God sized whole in our heart and we are never satisfied until we fill it with Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart,

When we refuse to fill the vacancy in our heart with Him, the vacuum that is created will suck the world into that hole. The rest of our lives will be spent trying to grab everything around us and control it so that we can determine for ourselves what will fill the void that only God can. Because of the world’s warped view of love, religion gets used as a control mechanism on others and ourselves. Some of the most controlling people in the world are the ones that see God as a controlling deity. Jesus came to set us free from all of that. The cross and the resurrection took away the power of all of the things of this world that seek to control us but we have to receive Jesus and walk in Him to be free of the illusion of control and experience abundant life. But make no mistake, freedom demands vigilance.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.