What I can’t Control What I can Control
Outcome of Circumstances Myself
-weather -My thoughts
-traffic -My Emotions
-elections -My Desires
-bounce of a ball -My Words
-Scheduling of a party, etc -My Actions
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, 7:13-14, 9:1-2) (Romans 12:2-3, Proverbs 16:32, Psalms 37:4, Ephesians 4:29, 22-24)
What are the implications of this reality? (as a believer)
- Sometimes we act like we can control other people and the outcome of circumstances.
- Anger, depression, discontentment, worry (can be manifestations of wanting to be in control and a lack of trust in God.)
- These are basically saying, “God, you are not doing it right! Scoot over and make room for me on the throne.”
- A proper reaction would be to recognize that a loving and sovereign God has allowed these circumstances in my life. Ultimately, they are for God’s glory. This brings freedom and peace.
- This is not to say that we can’t be disappointed or sorrowed by circumstances. Common sorrow is not sinful.
- If I can’t control others, others cannot control me. Why do we blame others as if they control us? (see Genesis 3, Adam and Eve blame shifted)
- “You made me angry!” This is a false statement; no one has the power to make you angry. They may provide a circumstance and you CHOOSE to become angry.
- “He made me do that” or “He made me say that”. These are false. He provided a circumstance and you choose to do or say that.
- Bottom line is that we choose our response to circumstances and other people.
- God does not hold you responsible for the actions of other people. When others sin, they are primarily sinning against a Holy God. (see Psalms 51:4) You are not responsible to God for them.
- God does hold you responsible for your response to circumstances and other people. If we sin in response, we have sinned primarily against our Holy God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
- God is righteous to hold us responsible for our own actions because we can control ourselves. (as believers)
- God is righteous in that He does not hold us responsible for the actions of others or circumstances because we are not in control of them.
We must evaluate and take responsibility for our response to the outcome of circumstances and other people. (Galatians 6:7-8, 5:16-25)
We should evaluate our motivation in how we respond in any given circumstance.
- There are only two motivations in life
- LOVE FOR GOD
- MY SELFISH DESIRES
- See (James 1:13-14, 3:13-16, 4:1-3) and (1 John 2:15-17, James 4:4, James 3:16)
- We can be motivated by the love for God in one moment and then switch motivations to selfish desires.
- Love for God is manifest by choosing to not sin. By being obedient. (John 14:15)
- Our example is Christ- more than any other person who has ever been on the face of the earth, Our LORD deserved respect, honor, to be catered to, and to live a comfortable life. He did not always receive these desires: But he always chose to be obedient to the Father. He is without sin. (Philippians 2:3-11)
- God opposes the Proud but gives grace to the humble. Humility looks like being more concerned about being obedience than getting what you want. (James 4:6)
Answer the following questions about the possible circumstances:
- What can’t you control/ can control?
- What would you feel and do if you were motivated by selfish desires?
- What is that desire?
- What would you feel and do if you were motivated by loving God?
Note: These desires are not sinful in themselves: When we are lured and enticed by them, we are willing to sin to get them, sin if we don’t get them or sin if they are threatened. Our desires can become demands.
#1 Stuck in a traffic jam.
#2 Spouse does not respond with excitement when you accomplish a goal.u
#3 Spouse demands you spend time on their preference. Not considering what you want to do.
#4 Someone speaks lies about you and misrepresents your motivations.