Friday, 08 June 2012
This is not 'my' life. I've been bought with a price; I don't own myself. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Likewise, you as a Christian are not your own. To be perfectly honest, no one is their own person; we are all either slaves to God or slaves to sin, the carnal body. (Romans 6:1-23) We were born into sin, (Romans 7:14) and cannot escape from it except by accepting salvation in Jesus Christ and allowing Him to pay the price for us, the wages of our sin, which is death. (Romans 6:23) Everyone chooses one or the other, there is no other option. Door A or Door B, that's it. And when we choose salvation, Jesus pays our debt with His shed blood. But we don't become free. We are still slaves, but are no longer slaves to sin. Instead, we have a new master. (Romans 6:17-19)
We tend to think of our lives as just that - ours. We have 'our' goals and 'our' dreams, and probably even 'our' plans to reach a few of those goals and dreams. But it isn't our task to decide at all what happens with this life, because we aren't free to live our own lives. That's actually a good thing.
I kind of think of it as a dog and his master. I have a dog, and I love my dog. I also own my dog. I bought him, and he belongs to me. His life is not his own, to do with as he pleases. He goes out to the bathroom when I let him out. He gets fed when I give him food. He gets treats and toys that I give him, and I decide when to take a toy away. They may seem like his toys, but he really doesn't have ownership of them. He has no control over his own life. I decide everything. He doesn't worry what will happen to him, or when his next meal is coming; I take care of all of that. Additionally, my dog didn't earn any of the treats or toys I give him; he gets treats and toys because I love him and want him to be a happy, healthy doggy.
If he was out on his own, 'free' and in control of his own life, he would be much less happy, and much less healthy. He gets good, healthy dog food every day, but if he was on his own, the burden of feeding himself would fall on his own shoulders and food would be much more scarce. If he was out on his own, no one would be there to protect him from big cars or mean people, or bigger dogs. No one would be there to keep him out of the rain or stop him from eating something that smells good but is really dangerous for him. If he were 'free,' he would not be a very happy doggy.
Now don't get me wrong, we are not merely God's pets; that analogy is an oversimplification of a very complex and deep relationship. But it is correct in a few ways, one of which being that, since God's grace is sufficient to meet all our need (though we don't always rely on Him to do that) (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Philippians 4:19), we don't need to worry about anything. Worry never did anyone any good. Worrying is something we do when we are trying to be in control; when it isn't up to me to provide my own food, I don't need to worry about where it's going to come from.
Another point I want to make is that it's useless and futile to try to wrestle with 'our' lives to make them fit 'our' plans or accomplish 'our' goals. I create strife and frustration and unnecessary struggle when I resist God and try to do things my own way. (Isaiah 55:1-3,8-9) God has a plan for each of us, and it's stupid of me to think that my idea is better than His, but that's what we do, as dumb humans.
The happiest, best option for us is to give in and let God have control of our lives. He already does, anyway; all we're doing is giving up the fight. The only way we're going to have peace is to give up, stop struggling and just relax in our faith that God is great enough to sustain us. Doesn't seem like it should be that easy, but it is. The world likes to tell us that the burden falls on our own shoulders; God tells us to cast our cares on Him. (1 Peter 5:6-7) The world likes to tell us that "God helps those who help themselves;" God tells us over and over to wait on Him and to trust in Him and let Him do it for us. (Psalm 37:3-5, 34, Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 115:9-18)
It's not ours to do; it's not our burden to bear. We can have peace, we can relax; we're in the arms of God.
In what areas of life are you still holding on to burdens? What would it take for you to be able to fully give up control to God?