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20.1.17

Character Over Comfort & Control

Control.

We all want it.
We don't always get it.
Sometimes we get it, then decide we don't want it.

Sigh.

In my life I've come to recognize control as an old familiar acquaintance, continually proving that my sense of having it is simply an illusion. Just when I think I have it, it's often yanked from my groping hands and there's not much I can do about it. 

When we feel like we are in control, we often feel pretty comfortable with it.

You may tell yourself you've earned it.
You may snatch it away from someone else and justify it.
You may hoard it, thinking no one can hurt you.
You may sacrifice pieces of your character to have it.
You may hide behind it.

When we feel out of control, we often feel frantic.

Why are we afraid to let go of it?
we feel weak
we feel uncomfortable
we feel ineffective
we feel frustrated
we feel exposed
we feel like we are floundering, grasping
we wonder what will happen and how we'll deal with it

Could it be that God is more interested in your character development than your comfort?  Could it be that growth requires being uncomfortable?


Image result for images of frustration

Often, Christians get this notion of the "abundant life" (found in John 10) to flesh out as the perfect life, being in control of all circumstances, a comfortable existence, all our dreams coming true, instant answers to prayer and 100% happiness.

All. Day. Every. Day.

The truth is this: life is not easy. It wasn't meant to be. This is not Heaven!

When we pray with control in mind, we treat God like a vending machine.
He is not a vending machine, a genie in a bottle or a drive through.

Consider these wise words...

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
-James 1:2-3 

“Take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you”

-Ephesians 4:22-24  

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
-Romans 5: 1-5

We grow when we experience discomfort.  That means letting go of our need to control.

Want to grow in character?

Embrace the uncomfortable.
Let go of your need to control everything.
Let the pressure do it's work in you, so you will grow in wisdom and tenderness.