I watched a little toddler lay completely face-down on at the end of my driveway the other day. His mom, who was holding the dog’s leash and pushing his stroller, stopped and waited, trying to coax him to get up and walk, but he wasn’t having it. She offered the stroller, but no, he didn’t want to be pushed either.
So she quietly picked him up and carried him—whining and kicking—down toward their house.
This little guy wanted what we all want in life: control.
Most of us spend a lot of time whining, kicking, and digging in our heels—trying to get and keep control. But like the boy’s mom, our God is too good to play along.
God sees you like that mom sees her son. He feels responsible for you. He wants you to be safe and happy and to flourish in life—which he says is only possible if you give up control and live in surrender to him.
Have you ever given God control of your life? If not, why? There are many possible reasons. See if any of these sound like you:
- You didn’t realize God cared one way or the other. You’ve always thought of God as distant and disinterested in your life. You didn’t realize he even knew you existed, let alone wanted to you to give him control.
- You don’t believe he exists. “What God?” you say. You can’t see him so you have chosen to believe he is not there. You decide for yourself what is right and good. Or you trust science to reveal what you need to know.
- You’ve been ignoring God. Your ears are plugged, where God is concerned. You like your autonomy, you know where you’re going in life, and you haven’t taken the time to glance up at God to see if he approves.
- You’ve detached yourself from God. You’re happier without God. And you’re strong enough to not need him as a crutch.
- You’ve rejected God. From where you sit, God seems restrictive and demanding. So you’ve put God on mute and blocked his opinions from your feed.
- You’re rebelling against God. You know he disapproves of your choices and lifestyle, but you’ve decided you don’t care. You don’t need God or want him interfering.
- You’re afraid of God. It’s mind-blowing to you that God could let children get cancer or let tsunamis sweep away villages. Giving God control is terrifying. You’d rather fly under the radar and hope he doesn’t notice you.
Your Flower’s Stem
If any of these describe you, please consider this. God is your Creator. He has laid stake on your life. He looks at you and says, “I created her. I breathed life into her lungs. I call the sun to rise up and shine down on her head. I pour the rain to fall onto her roof. I paint her world with the beauty of my creation—inviting her each day to know me and enjoy me and worship me.”
If you have chosen to ignore, reject, or rebel against God, He is not okay with this. Whether you realize it or not, the God who lays claim to your life is your source of life. By detaching yourself from God, you’re like a flower pulling away from it’s stem—slowly dying. Whether you think you need God or not, you do. And whether you think He deserves your worship or not, He does.By detaching yourself from God, you're like a flower pulling away from it's stem. Whether you think you need God or not, you do. Click To Tweet
Picture God looking down at your wilting, drying, browning, stemless flower and saying, “Oh well. If that’s how she wants to live (or die), I guess that’s fine.”
Um, no. That’s worse than the toddler’s mom leaving him face-down in my driveway.
Detaching from God
Yet there are built in consequences. If you live your entire life detaching yourself from God and rejecting him, at the end of your life, God will say, “Depart from me. I never knew you” and toss your lifeless branch into the fire (Matt. 7:18-23). I shudder to share this image with you, but I shudder even more at the thought of you not knowing!I shudder to share the image of God throwing your lifeless branch into the fire, but I shudder even more at the thought of you not knowing! Click To Tweet
That is the terrifying, bad news. But here is the glorious, good news: Our Creator God is kind, merciful, patient, and good! It is “not his will that any should perish” (II Pet. 3:9). It was out of great love that God sent his son Jesus to bring us back to life.
How? By bringing us back to the source of life: God. (I Pet. 3:18)
Here’s what God did. He sent Jesus, tucked into a tiny, unborn baby’s flesh. Jesus was sinless and perfect. Unlike us, he lived in complete surrender to God—even when God asked him to die on a cross. Jesus didn’t die like a flower pulling away in rebellion and detaching from its lifegiving stem. No, Jesus was like a vibrant, flourishing flower that was cut off from God and trampled in hate. It was out of his great love for us that Jesus died in our place to absorb the consequence of us ignoring, rejecting, and rebelling against God. His sacrifice was great enough to appease God’s wrath. (I John 4:10, I John 2:2).
That’s good news, right? But this news is even better. Jesus didn’t just die; he rose from the dead and swallowed up death, removing its sting (I Cor. 15:55-57)! Having the faith to believe in Jesus—in who he was, and what he accomplished on the cross—is the way that we become alive spiritually (John 3:16). We’re like dead, dried out flowers, which suddenly come back to life and begin to flourish. Through Jesus, we’ve been re-united with and re-attached to our source of life: God.
But friend, don’t miss this point: God didn’t give us life so we could go back to our old dead, detached, wilting ways. He wants us to live and thrive in relationship with our Creator. I Corinthians 5:15 says, “[Jesus] died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
Jesus Came for You
Have you lived your life ignoring, rejecting, or detaching yourself from God? Have you been trying to be the one in control? Then here is Jesus’ message to you.
Jesus came to go after those who have wandered far from God (Luke 19:10). He doesn’t pursue you out of condemnation; he came to save you and give you life (John 3:17)! When Jesus reaches out to you, with your burden of control heaped onto your shoulders, here’s what I hear him saying:
“Aren’t you tired? Aren’t you weary? Aren’t you burdened by trying to live your life on your own? You were not designed to be your own god, trying to control it all. You were designed to live in surrender to your creator, God. Won’t you lay down your burden and give God control? Give God everything! Give him yourself.”
If this is your first time giving God control of anything, ever, here’s what to do:
- Confess your sin. Pray and tell God that you’ve been wrong to live your life ignoring, dismissing, or rejecting Him, and you recognize you deserve His wrath. (Rom. 3:23)
- Believe in Jesus. Tell God you believe that He loved you enough to send Jesus as your substitute on the cross, to reconcile you with Him. (Acts 16:31, Rom. 5:10)
- Give God control. Live in obedience to God. Let Him decide what’s good for you and bad for you. Come alive in Jesus! (Gal. 2: 20, Rom. 6:11-13)
Friend, if I can help you surrender your life to God or answer your questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love nothing more.