It's easy to get confused these days. "Out of control" isn't what we want to be. People who drink too much are said to be "out of control." Those who worry too much become emotionally "out of control." The same goes for those who go too far with anything: prescription drugs, food, fitness, sex, work—you name it.
But wait. Does this mean we're supposed to be "in control"? Is that our goal? I know a boss (in fact I know several) who is definitely "in control." Folks who work for him either grin and bear it or jump ship as soon as another job surfaces. Some fathers are, without question, "in control." They intimidate, dominate, moderate, and manipulate.
But being "in control" doesn't necessarily mean "controlling." A healthy, happy life requires being in control of ourselves. To be punctual, we must control the use of our time. To be prepared and ready, we must be in control of our schedule. To be a good listener, our minds and tongue must be controlled. To get a project completed, our tendency to procrastinate must be under the firm control of our determination.
This means, then, that we need to be in firm control of ourselves...but not controlling of others. Our example? Christ, of course. He got the job done. Without wasted effort, personal panic, or extreme demands, He accomplished the objective. Right on schedule, He went to that cross. When He sighed, "It is finished," it was. Absolutely and completely.
Did most believe? Are you kidding? The vast majority back then, as now, didn't give Him the time of day. Could He have grabbed the controls and forced them to sit up and take notice? I hope to shout! Remember what He said? "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53). I'd call 72,000 angels being in charge, wouldn't you? It was His own control that restrained Him from controlling others.
The Christian life boils down to a battle of the wills: Christ's versus our own. Every day we live we must answer, "Who's in charge here?"
Recently I received a letter from a fine Christian couple, and I smiled understandingly at one line: "Although the Lord has taken good care of my wife and me for the past 38 years, He has taken control of us for the past two and a half."
Tell me, how long has the Lord taken care of you? Be honest now...has He also taken control of you? It's easy to get confused these days. It's even easier to take control.
Don't get "out of control" because you're so determined to stay "in control."
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.