Written by cycleguy on January 19th, 2020

I have come to the conclusion that much of the Christian life is one of control. Who controls whom? For example, I was speaking to someone this past week and we were talking about legalism. I made a statement I firmly believe in: many pastors/teachers/leaders use legalism as a way to control their people. I know when I was very legalistic in my outlook and preaching it was my way of controlling people. I wouldn’t have called it that. I would have called it “loving words from your pastor.” But in reality, I and others like me, used a legalistic approach to keep people “under my thumb.” Grace changed that for me. But it still happens. How many pastors do you know who tell their people “You better” or “If you don’t” or “If you do” in order to keep their flock in the sheepfold and not wander out at night?  So we make dress, church attendance, hair styles, tattoos, etc a way to judge a person’s “Christian” witness.

But consider this if you will: We are not meant to control our Christianity; Christianity is meant to control us. (I read that recently but can’t remember, where so I’m sorry for the failure to give credit).  So many in our culture might say they embrace Jesus but they want to conform Jesus and His teachings to their lifestyle. I think it should be the other way around: Jesus should inform us on how to conduct our lives and how to treat others. His teachings ought to transform us rather than trying to bend the teachings to fit us.  We are, after all, told to “present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable service of worship.” Then we are told “not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That sounds a whole like surrender to me, of giving up control to someone else.

There is only one Person who should control our lives. Not us. Not a pastor. Not a leader. Not a teacher. Not a (fill in the blank). Only Jesus.  ONLY. JESUS.


7 Comments so far ↓

  1. The sad thing is that man loves to be in control. We control each other – as spouses, parents, bosses at work or people in authority.

    We sometimes also want to control God and ask Him to do things our way – as we wish. You’d be surprised how many people want to serve God in an advisory capacity.

    God bless.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are right Victor. We do like to be in control. And doubly correct in saying we want to control God. I chuckled at your use of “advisory capacity.” So true.

  2. Amen, Bill! Only Jesus – only, only, only!

  3. Lisa notes says:

    “We are not meant to control our Christianity; Christianity is meant to control us.” I’ve been in church scenarios where control was definitely used as a hammer by the leaders to keep everyone in line. It may work temporarily but it’s a horrible tactic. I’m so glad that Christ is the one ultimately in control. Only Jesus. Yes, Bill! Love this.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are so right Lisa. Guilt is a lousy motivator so when the guilt wears off so does the penchant for doing. Following Jesus because of love is a totally different ballgame. Thanks Lisa for the nice comment.

  4. I love this post Bill. IN fact the quote you cannot remember where you got it, I posted on my fb wall…good one. One of the things we leave with any missionary we meet with after listening to them is, talk to the Lord about what you told us. He alone can direct you perfectly. We can advice, give resources to read, send you to a retreat and you still will not know God’s will until you wait and wait and wait on Him. He knows all, cares more, had the perfect timing. We will trust God with you and be excited when you hear from Him knowing He never fails us.