By Lissie Hoover
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” – 1 John 5:4
Wrestling is something all of us are familiar with. Woven throughout life is a persistent struggle between fear and trust, faith and doubt, control and surrender. Our muscles ache with the weariness of this continual tug of war.
We need not fear, however, as God equips us to take on spiritual battles through the power of His Word and indwelling Holy Spirit. He calls us to battle against selfishness, temptation, lust and sin. He gives us all we need for godliness in this lifelong war against our flesh.
However, there are some wrestling matches He asks us to refrain from. Particularly, He asks us to cease striving for control. Our sin nature whispers to us that we have the right to rule our lives—as if our very breath in our lungs was not an undeserved gift from God. When we listen to these lies, we engage in the wrestling match against the struggles of life and sometimes, the will of God.
The desire for control often is revealed in two different ways: disobedience and distrust. When we make choices based on our desires that contradict the authority of God, it is disobedience. Distrust is displayed in our demand to understand everything, despite knowing the faithfulness of God. Both disobedience and distrust reveal a need to bow ourselves in surrender and reacquaint ourselves with the character of God.
Often, this grappling for control is not a blatant disregard for the things of God or His authority, but rather indifference to it. We are not diligent in pursuing the Lord and before we know it we find ourselves pursuing the things of the world. How easy it is to find ourselves here!
As pastor and author Dr. David Jeremiah says, “When we miss our spiritual meals, we lose our spiritual appetite.”
We need our spiritual meals in order to be continually reminded of our need for God and His overwhelming grace. Why would we fight for control when we can trust in the goodness of our great Lord who has overcome death for us?
Don’t you long to retire the ceaseless fight against an impossible opponent? We cannot make sense of all the twists and turns of life and we surely cannot control them. Yet, how freeing it is to know that we don’t need to.
God uses the confusion of life to point us back to Him. When life is unpredictable and things hurt, we realize we are not and cannot be in control. Thank heavens someone is—our Lord, who is perfectly sovereign. Sometimes we have to lower ourselves humbly in order to return to God and the joy of a relationship with Him.
Such freedom can be found, not in an illusion of control, but in surrender. Isn’t that what we long for? When we loosen our grip on this transient world we find enduring peace in God’s faithful character and goodness.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
We cannot defeat this world on our own. We cannot wrestle our problems to the ground with our willpower and be crowned champion. But we can bow before a King who is worthy of our time, trust and obedience. Christ has overcome this world and through faith and surrender we can too.
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