Giving Up Control

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

February 17, 2013

“Giving Up Control”

Luke 4: 1-13

How many of you had pancakes on Tuesday? I didn’t, but “Shrove Tuesday” traditionally is the day all the grease and fat in the home are used up (frying pancakes) so that there will be no more rich, greasy, goodness consumed during the forty days of Lent.

Lent begins with the reading of the temptation. It is recorded in three of the gospels. Mark’s account is the shortest:

Immediately ( after the baptism of Jesus) the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. He was             there is the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan”   Mark 1:12-13

Reflecting the forty days of temptation that Jesus spent in the wilderness, the forty days of Lent are supposed to be marked by some sort of personal sacrifice:

Giving up great, greasy fried foods.

Giving up meat.

Giving up sweets.

Lent is about giving up things.

When I was a child I would give up chocolate.  Most of the time Lent was after Valentine’s Day and I always received a heart full of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  Then after Lent came Easter and I always got an Easter basket. And of course, the basket was filled with chocolate.

But for the 40 days of Lent I gave up chocolate. And I did that every year.

And I was certain I was sacrificing, but really it was delayed gratification – I would still eat the chocolate. The truth is I probably ate more chocolate on Valentine’s Day- preparing for the 40 days when I wouldn’t get any chocolates.  And on Easter I definitely splurged because I had been so deprived.

That’s not what Lent is about

The word Lent means “Spring.” It is a season to prepare for the new life Jesus wants to give each of us. Lent is a gift – a time set aside to focus on what is holding us back. It’s a time to reflect upon every area of our lives. So this year instead of encouraging you to give up candy, each week we’re going to focus on some area that may be holding you back from the abundant life God has for you. And if it applies to you, God wants you to give it up.

This week we’re going to focus on control. Having control of a situation is a good thing; without control there would be bedlam.


But there are times when control can be a bad thing

Control of our lives

The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: “Alter your course 10 degrees south.”  Promptly a return message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north.” The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: “Alter your course 10 degrees south – I am the captain!”  Soon another message was received: “Alter your course 10 degrees north – I am seaman third class Jones.”  Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: “Alter your course 10 degrees south – I am a battleship.”  Then the reply came “Alter your course 10 degrees north – I am a lighthouse.”
Now that may seem like a cute illustration but it is very similar to how we live our lives. We are so concerned with being in control of our lives that we don’t take time to listen to instruction from “THE TRUE LIGHTHOUSE.”

Why?   We think we know best – the pride factor. It usually means that we are afraid to trust God.

Maybe you have seen the bumper sticker: “God is my copilot.”  I like the one that says “If God is your copilot you are sitting in the wrong seat.” God is not our copilot; God is the pilot. We need to let God control our lives.


Control of others

We want them to respond the way we respond, implying that our way is best.

Jesus says , “Why do you try to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye when you have a beam in your own eye.”  Matthew 7:3

We are not better than that person; we are not able to see what a person is really like inside.  We can’t judge someone else’s motivations; only God can do that.

Our task is to remove the beam from our own eye and that is a full-time job.

Make some time to examine your life. Are you struggling to be in control of your life…be in control of others?  If so, instead of giving up chocolate for Lent, it’s time to give up control.