The word control often has a negative connotation but think about how important “control” is in your life. I don’t mean the negative dimension of being a controlling person. You want someone in control of the airplane you are a passenger on, so all control is not bad. I mean self-control—the ability to resist impulses and temptations and accomplish the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). It’s no wonder that Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, in their book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, cite research indicating that “poor self-control correlates with just about every kind of individual trauma: losing friends, being fired, getting divorced, winding up in prison.”
But the truth is—there are forces present in our world today that seek to control you! The media seeks to influence and shape our opinions and even our worldview. Substances can control our mind and behavior through addiction and altering our physiology. Controlling and devious people seek to influence the thinking and behavior of the naïve, immature, and uninformed. Political platforms seek to control how we vote and ultimately the cultural norms in our society. Philosophical worldviews seek to change how we view the world. And most important, our fallen human nature has a powerful yearning of its own that seeks to control us and lead us toward ungodliness. Any of these controlling powers that do not influence us in the direction of Christlikeness and the values of the Kingdom of God are from one and the same source: Satan. “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Satan knows that if he can influence and ultimately control the thinking of any human being, he can keep that person from displaying the image of God on earth through a life of peace, joy, and fellowship with the Creator-God of Scripture.
The apostle James gives us the anatomy of sin—the life cycle of sin, if you will: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
What is the first step toward death? It is being “drawn away…and enticed,” either by our “own desires”—the desires of our flesh—or by influences of other controlling powers around us. What we need is a power greater than the power of our flesh or the power of Satan who uses the systems of this world to entice us and draw us away from God. And clearly, Christians have such a power, for the Holy Spirit dwells within us (Acts 2:38). Romans 6:14 reminds us: “For sin shall not have dominion [power] over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
If it is possible not to be controlled by anyone or anything in this world, what is the secret? How do we remain close to our Heavenly Father, giving up our personal desires and wants into His leading and live a defended life, protected from the powers seeking to control us?
The answer is clear: the power of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control.” Note: Self-control is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not the fruit of our intelligence, our willpower, our resolve, our determination, or our strength. Yes, those play a part—the Holy Spirit strengthens and empowers our intelligence, willpower, resolve, determination, and strength. But the power comes from Him, not us!
As you are led by the Spirit, yielding control to our Lord and Savior, He will protect you. You will be under the control of no one and nothing except the Lord Jesus Christ, your wise and loving Friend and Protector. Turn the control of your life “To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:25). He alone is worthy of being in control of your life.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
 Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength (New York: The Penguin Press, 2011), 2.
Hope! We feel it as cold, blustery days turn to warm, sunny ones each spring. While we revel in the hope we find as the seasons change, we are reminded of an even greater hope—the spiritual hope we have because of Easter! Prepare your heart for Easter this year and for years to come with David Jeremiah’s new book, Season of Hope. This book is designed to encourage you as you anticipate the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the indescribable hope that it brings to our lives. This new resource is filled with devotionals, articles, and other content to fill you with hope each Easter season.