Letting God be In Control; September 22, 2018

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Verse eight of this is echoed in the last two verses of the letter of Jude, put memorably to music by Don Francisco. “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25) Paul himself reiterated this as a prayer for the Thessalonians. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) (That passage has been put to music in Japanese, which I have translated, resulting in English that isn’t exactly from the text.) Verse nine, because of different word order, comes across rather differently in Japanese than in English: “God is faithful, and by His calling you have been brought into fellowship with His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.” That seems to put the focus on our fellowship with Christ, whereas the English puts it on the faithfulness of God. It is indeed vitally important that God is faithful, but it is also vitally important that we fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

This passage is a reminder that, whereas we responsible to answer God’s call and submit to Him, the power that makes it all possible is His, not ours. We are not capable, in our own strength, of living blameless lives. However, God is more than able to live blamelessly through us, if we will allow Him to do so. It’s when we insist on control that we get into trouble. Quite a few years ago there was a popular bumper sticker, taken from the title of a book, I believe, that said, “God is my Copilot.” The very appropriate response to that is, “If God is your copilot, swap seats.” In other words, we need to let God be in control, not us. I’ve struggled with this as much as anyone. I am frequently reminded of the pride that has been a snare to me all my life, and the most fundamental expression of that is, “I am in control. I decide what happens.” I do need to decide things very frequently, but those decisions must all be based on a fundamental submission to God and what He desires for and of me. My foundational decision must be to trust and obey. Right now I am being told to trust God with this church. It’s amazing how hard it is to do that, even for a single Sunday! That’s proof that I haven’t let Him be fully in control up until now, and that’s important to realize. I’m not to back away from what He wants me to do, but I must allow others to do what He wants them to do, and not insist on doing those things for them. They are called into fellowship with Christ as much as I am, and He is faithful to bring that to pass.

Father, thank You indeed for what You are doing. Letting go can be painful, but that’s a clear indication of how tightly I’ve been holding on. May we be Your church indeed, and not just in words, so that all of Your plans may be fulfilled for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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