Thursday, February 22, 2018

Control Is An Illusion

"Do not be anxious about anything....." Philippians 4:6

Anxiety entered the human experience when Eve would rather have control than trust God's sovereignty. Adam foolishly agreed with her.

Ironically, their craving for control sent life spinning out of control. 

So, the roots of anxiety are in rebellion against God's sovereignty. And the level of anxiety rises in direct proportion to your continued resistance to His control over your life!

To review:
  • Anxiety is an emotion not a sin, but it can cause you to sin. 
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap." Luke 21:34
  • Anxiety empowers us when we demand control of our lives and resist living under God's sovereign control.
  • So, anxiety is a decision not a prison.

The Hawaiians had a word for anxiety they coined to describe the white Westerners who came to pursue their fortunes in the tropical paradise. That word was "haole" and it meant "breathless" because that is how these driven and ambitious foreigners seemed to the Islanders. They were so intent on possessing and building and controlling their own little empires it seemed they barely had time to breath.

Does that sound familiar?

Do you know anyone like that?

I mentioned Latin word for anxiety means to "choke" or "to squeeze". That is a great description of how it feels when you insist on controlling your life while resisting God's control over it.

Excepting a life-altering trauma, some mental or emotional disorder, anxiety is rooted in rebellion against God's sovereignty or control over the affairs of your life! And continued repeated resistance to His will and His control will cause a rise in the level of your anxiety.

It is like the definition of insanity. Insanity is continuing to do the same thing while expecting anew result. That will never happen!

If you want to change your behavior you will need to first change your belief! 

Life is beyond your control! Even when you think you have it under control you don't. Control is an illusion that can become a delusion!

Only God is able to control the events and circumstances of your life. He is Sovereign!

Anxiety will plague your life, rob your joy, sap your energy, steal your enthusiasm and trouble your sleep until you relinquish control of your life unto Jesus!

Will you surrender to His sovereignty today and catch your breath?

February 22, 2018

"The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” Genesis 3:6-13

Our automobiles are safer than ever. Our food sources and our food production are safer than ever. The drilling, the production, the generation and transportation of energy is safer than ever. We have simple wireless security systems that are safer than ever. The Stock Market is rising and our economy is expanding and becoming stronger every month. There is much to be encouraged about!

So why are anxiety levels at an all-time highs? Why are stress-related physical, mental and emotional issues rising exponentially?

Although the scope and breadth of anxiety-related issues are fairly recent phenomenon anxiety has plagued the human condition since Adam and Eve.

To trace the origins of anxiety you must go back to the Garden of Eden and recognize the primary issue is control. 

When Adam and Eve lived blissfully under the Sovereignty of God their lives were prosperous, peaceful and content. God was lovingly sparing them from the worries of everyday life. They had clearly defined responsibilities that provided them a sense of meaning and worth. God had made them a perfect match for each other and for being in fellowship with Him. For them it was literally a living paradise while God was in charge!

But the Serpent sought to change that. He sowed seeds of doubt and discontent in their heart and mind. Original sin was a power play, a quest for control. He was able to get Eve to believe life would be better if she could be in control. Why depend on God when she could call the shots herself? She took the deal, she sold it to Adam and they discovered the joys of anxiety. Once they took control life soon got out of control. Our ego says we can handle life but our emotions know better.

Perhaps you hadn't thought about it before but anxiety is so destructive because it was born out of rebellion. Life is way too big for us! We may be able to control our decisions but we can't control the consequences or the outcomes. Being in control brings control issues! Not only do we now bear the responsibility for the decision we also become responsible for the fallout! The more we try to control our lives the more out of control we feel. That's anxiety 101 and life gets complicated quickly.

"Then he said to the woman, “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.” And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:16-19

So, how's that control thing working for you now, Adam and Eve?

Feeling anxious is not a sin, nor is worry. But when you are anxious it can cause you to sin because you feel like you need to take control of things you cannot control.

Take control of your anxiety! Put your life under God's control today!