Power is intoxicating. Always has been. Eve wanted to be like God knowing good and evil. Taking on a role that did not belong to her, she ate the forbidden fruit to find wisdom. Isn’t that what we want? We want to be in control of our lives in every way. She wanted exactly what we want, “to be like God.”
We are in control. If I keep a tight control over my house, I can control my children. If I love my husband, then he must love me back. I am in control of my life, knowing what is right and wrong. I have a strict code of do’s and don’ts. If I follow them, God is obligated to reward me with the desires of my heart. I’ve got my routine. I’ve got my goals.
Then life throws me a curve ball. That old hurt of a broken self-image roars to life.
That’s ok. I’ve got this. I just need to lose weight. I will try harder! I’ll come up with a better routine! I just need to focus more. It’s all the toxic people around me. I need a new job, house… husband. I need to get more involved in church, more prayer, more bible study, more responsibility!!!!!!
Many of us are in denial about our lust for power to control our lives and the people around us.
We find euphemisms to hide behind as we disable our feelings to keep up the image. We build walls around us, so that people can’t see the hurt. We are constantly drained of energy. We isolate ourselves to keep others from hurting us. We’ve been in pain for so long, relying on ourselves and our abilities.
In so much popular women’s ministry today, there is a voice that initially will sound right. I’ve been to a lot women’s conferences, where I was told I am worthy. I am beautiful. I am powerful. I’ve heard things like this,
“The arm of the Lord is not too short to deliver you, to provide for you, to vindicate you, to promote you. You’re about to see God take you where you couldn’t go on your own.”
“God’s not trying to take something from you; He’s trying to get something better to you. If you’ll trust Him and do what you know you need to do, you’ll come into a new level of your destiny.”
Who doesn’t want to be beautiful and worthy? Who doesn’t want a new level of destiny to be achieved by our good works? I want to be healed by the Presence of God without confession or repentance. A quick miracle, and my relationships are healed. I don’t have to admit that I was wrong. Forgiveness doesn’t cost me anything. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul warns us that there will be people who hold to a form religion but deny its power. If I alone am beautiful, worthy, and powerful. What do I do with Revelation 4:11?
“Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.”
What do I do with Romans 7?
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I do not do the good I want to do…
We have to admit that we are powerless to control ourselves and our world. The first step into God’s presence is submission and repentance. No one gets to skip this step. We have to uncover ourselves by confessing we’ve been living for ourselves. We are weak. We are filled with all kinds unrighteousness. When Paul writes a list of possible sins, adultery, envy, and murder are listed right next to disputes, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, and disobedient to parents
God will not override our normal operating system.
He is compassionate, not wanting to humiliate us. Look at the story of Adam and Eve. After they sinned, they heard God walking in the garden, and hid themselves. God did not expose them. His presence alone didn’t heal them. He didn’t overwhelm them with his power. He gently called them to come out. Adam and Eve had to choose to come out from behind the bush of denial and admit they were powerless to resist evil. They chose to humble themselves. God loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to exhaust ourselves being powerful. He confronts us, so that we can stop hiding from Him and enjoy His presence.
Are we enjoying God’s presence? Or, are we still trying to be powerful, trying to control our world and the people in our world? Are we disabling our feelings? Then there is a stronghold there. Some of us blend Animism with our Christianity. If we say or do certain things, then God will respond in certain ways. If we tithe, God will bless us. If we pray, God will do what we ask. My flat tire this morning happened because I yelled at my child before school. I know a lady with a drawer full of fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies that thinks God is using them to speak directly to her. She leads a women’s ministry at a church. We ascribe spiritual significance to the material world. Essentially, we as Christians believe that we are powerful enough to control God and the world around us by human means. We’ve used Christian language to dress up our quest for power over our world.
Everything in us will resist admitting that we are powerless, especially, if we’ve been made to feel powerless.
We try, but we cannot draw a straight line from our good deeds to blessings or bad deeds to suffering. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes really good things happen.
Jeremiah cries out to us,
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
God’s truth is that in Christ we are acceptable and chosen, and He has the power to heal us! What are we in denial about today? What are we trying to control or manipulate? Are we still struggling to admit we are powerless to save ourselves? Are still trying to be good enough to be accepted? Are we more focused on our self-worth than God? Is there a stronghold we need to face?