Monday, January 9, 2017

out-of-control“Being in control” is a strong motivating force.  It may be good or bad.  That is the choice of the one who is in control!  When this “condition” is found in religious circles it can benefit or break fellowship.

Eve took control (Genesis 3:6).  Cain did (Genesis 4:8).  The high priest thought Jesus was eroding his control over the people (John 18:12-14).  James and John wanted the highest place of honor in Jesus kingdom.  Their mother worked to gain it for them (Matthew 20:20-21).  The apostles argued about it (Mark 9:33-34).  Jesus’ follow up lesson didn’t stop it (Mark 9:35-37).  It continued years after His ascension (3 John 1:9 NIV).  It is still with us!

It happens among preachers (Galatians 1:6-9).  It happens among elders (Acts 20:28-31).  The saved are afflicted with it (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).  The sad thing is that those who seek control for ulterior motives hurt rather than help.  Their goal is to be saviors but their strategy leads to  assemblies “of Cephas” or “of Paul” (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).  Inspiration doesn’t support same named assemblies with opposing hearts!

Some control is driven by pride.  The wrong standard motivates others, such as “This is the way we’ve always done it,” “This is what I was always taught,” “This is what I am comfortable with,” or “This is how I feel.”  Most of these can be reduced to the “I am of Paul” or “I am of Apollos” mentality.  Fellowship is lost when the slogan becomes, “My way or the highway.”  Like the saved in Corinth, each ride on the back of bad goals!

The “sons of thunder” were not confined to the first century!  The spirit of Diotrephes is alive and well.  Obstinate personalities draw crowds.  Some mistake gullibility for perfection and convince others to follow.   Some turn from God’s grace to pride in their own righteousness  (Titus 3:5).  For some, the “Good News” is what they have done not what He did.  Some belittle others to prove how big they are.  Each of these is “control” in action, but the wrong kind!

Jesus taught the kind of control that leads to serving others (Luke 22:26).  It motivates us to forgive as He did (Matthew 6:12).  It motivates love when none is received (Romans 5:6, 8).  It leaves judgment and revenge in God’s hands (Romans 12:17, 19).  It blesses rather than berates (Romans 12:10, 17).  It encourages and boosts hope (Romans 12:21; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV).  It builds confidence rather than inducing fear (Hebrews 2:14-15).  It is the kind of control that God respects and all should be drawn to.

What is your kind?