Who’s in Charge?

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 NLT)

These words spoken by God to Eve after the fall reminds me that control is an issue with which we still wrestle. Not just in marriage, but in virtually every area of our lives. “Who’s in charge?” is a question that often needs to be asked and answered, whether in a workplace, church, or family setting. But the most important setting in which knowing who’s in control is essential is our own heart.

Saying Jesus is in control and leading our life is easy. Letting Him lead is often another story. Regardless of our daily routine and responsibilities, as a Jesus follower Lordship is critical for us to get right. As in parenting, just because we “do what He says,” doesn’t necessarily mean we’re submitted to His Lordship and yielding to His control.

Young children typically want to please their parents, so, for the most part, they’re a joy to have and they love to listen to our directives. But as our children age and become more independent, there’s what I like to call a “creative tension” between their listening skills and our instructions. They begin to question, or perhaps they like for us to begin to question “who’s really in charge.”

Unfortunately, that also happens in our relationship with Jesus. We like to pick the things we like to do, then, because they’re not “sinful,” we believe the Lord will be okay with them. Lordship can be a misunderstood process that, if we’re not careful, can point us down paths that can actually lead us away from the Lord. How so?

A key word that I believe is critical for us to adopt as God’s children is “balance.” Too much of even a good thing, like church, can be harmful to our walk with the Lord. For example. Because I’m retired, I have a lot of time, right? Actually, I have the same 24 hours that I’ve always had, I’m just responsible to appropriate them differently.

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That’s where Lordship and knowing who’s in control can be critical. In my “freedom,” because I had an open slot on my calendar, I felt responsible to “fill” it with another meeting with someone I’m discipling or go to another training or another new ministry meeting. Before long I was planning things for nearly every day that centered on church-related activity. Okay, so what was the problem?

The problem was I was being motivated by selfish ambition and not the Holy Spirit. I would never have admitted it, but I wanted to fit in, to be liked – needed even. The more activities I could be involved in, the more people might think: “Oh, there’s Ed, he never misses anything.” But the truth was, I was missing a lot.

My wife and I were like ships passing in the night. We rarely had time to eat a meal together. I’m a Jesus follower before anything else, but right under that comes family. My kids aren’t serving the Lord today largely because of my busyness when they were growing up – never being home, always “serving others.” I’m sorry friends, but that’s not right and does not please the Lord.

I wasn’t allowing Him to exercise His control in my life and I now deeply regret it. I was enmeshed in “religious” activities that felt good and, I pray, did some good. But they also robbed me of precious time with those I love the most. There’s got to be balance between family time, working, and serving, and only Jesus can give us clarity in planning that.

He’s got to be in charge, regardless of whether we’re a Pastor, CEO, housewife, or homeless. And the two best ways to verify that are still our calendar and our checkbook.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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