Every day we operate within parameters and often impose boundaries upon our personal and professional lives. We teach our children about being in control of their thoughts, behaviors, and actions. We have unspoken expectations that others will maintain control of themselves too, especially when sharing public places and spaces. Within each of us is a desire to poses control over the things that impact our individual world. Maybe you’ve never thought about it this way, and it’s a subconscious act. Consider the following catch phrases: control freak, OCD, type “A” personality. Could any of these be used to describe you? Do you highly value order and structure, organization and planning, and generally like to be in the loop about everything that has anything to do with you, your future, and whatever is remotely connected to someone or something within your circle? If you’re not careful, being in control can be very exhausting.
Within the kingdom of God, we must be careful not to allow our all-business, “I’m in control” secular attitude to infiltrate that which is sacred. We have to guard against tainting our worship toward God. But most importantly, we have to remember not to express this attitude when approaching God. You see, God has given us dominion, and that is a great thing! We have been given the privilege of exercising authority and exerting control over everything…everything that is, except God, our creator. Where He is concerned, we must shift our mentality and quickly remember that He controls it all, including us.
Often, even in the church, this can be difficult for us to accept. Leaders, in particular, sometimes feel the need to give direction on every aspect of the worship service, to the point that they have exercised so much control over what can and cannot happen. Shouldn’t a worship service be just that-a time to encounter God in worship? What’s really going on? Sadly, our public worship is often the mirror reflection of our private worship time. We are so used to being in control of everything that we think we can have our way when it comes to God’s house too. I’m not advocating that we should not operate in a spirit of excellence or do things decently and in order. We just have to remember the reason we do what we do and never lose sight of keeping our motives pure. What if we invited God to come and He showed up? Are we willing to have a God-experience on His terms? The reality is, the Spirit of God will never manifest where He is not welcomed and where He can have free reign. As hard of a question as it might be to pose beloved, I must now ask you, “Are you afraid to lose control?”
I wonder what would happen if we truly understood the benefits of relinquishing complete control to God. Worship requires us to make room for God. It is a willing exchange to empty ourselves from none of us to all of Him. If you heart’s cry is, “Lord, I want more of you,” then it may involve being willing to open up yourself in a way that is completely transparent and vulnerable. I’ll say it again, you’ve got to be willing to let go of the control you thing you need. Here’s the key: trust! You will never relinquish control to someone you don’t trust. Likewise, you can never obtain intimacy in any relationship without trust. Our ability to yield to God is a sign of our trust. It is only at this point will we be able experience authentic worship.
I am reminded of the passage in Daniel 3:28 where the three Hebrew boys demonstrated their complete trust for God as they worshiped Him. It says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” When you are willing to give up your life and lose control, it is then that you find it in the presence of God.