This is a scary word. Who is in control? Is it God, me, the devil, my addiction, the government, just who the heck is running things? Or better yet, what is controlling me?
There is of course free will, the ability to make our own choices, go our own way, be our own person. But what is steering our compass to those directions? If it is me, I am limited to what I know and see. If it is the government, then I am relying on them for the sustenance of my life, and for the way they vote on my rights. If it is my addiction, then it controls every decision I make including irrational compass readings that point to instant everything. It makes me a walking microwave.
Then there is that old Flip Wilson saying, "The Devil made me do it". Really? Or was it me listening to his promptings rather than the voice of reason. Truth is, no one can force us to do anything unless we decide to do it. Three young Jewish boys were asked to bow down to a god they didn't believe in, they didn't. Stephen was asked to deny his faith, he did not. Peter did deny Christ, but that was before he was filled with the power to resist.
And, that's where God comes in, more specifically, Jesus. What makes the difference of my compass pointing in the right or wrong direction is the right voice within me to guide my choice. If I'm not taught the difference between right and wrong, then wrong looks a lot right. In fact for many years, wrong guided my choices. It felt good, until it didn't.
What changed for me was receiving the power to do right, the power to not control my life, but to guide it away from danger and to lead it into right thinking. Took awhile because I was very stubborn, but now that I understand that God contends for me, he fights for me, and he loves me unconditionally, I want to know what he wants me to do.
That's a decision, not control. That is receiving the Holy Spirit through salvation, not running away from God. That my friends is a tremendous burden lifted from my shoulders. It's in a prayer we have been talking about all week: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
He's where that wisdom to know the difference comes from, not me. His spirit, not mine!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.