In this edition of StrateGEMS, Rich challenges the popular Christian belief that God is in control of what happens in our lives.
I’m not sure why you tune into these little broadcasts, but I’m hoping it’s because you realize that there may be something in your belief system that needs to be challenged and corrected. This is true for all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not. At any rate, today I want to talk about something that many Christians believe to be true that I think needs some adjustment.
Whenever bad things happen in our lives, many of us are prone to say “well, I just know that God is in control!”. This is certainly an acknowledgement of our faith and trust in a loving God who is watching over us. However, the idea that God is in control goes way beyond this. To say that God is in control is also to imply that God is ultimately behind whatever happens in our lives. Some of you may take issue with that statement, but deep down in your belief system is the idea that God is up there directing all the affairs of your life and you find comfort in this during those difficult times.
However, there are several problems with this idea, starting with the fact that the Bible doesn’t teach that God is in control of what happens on Earth. Yes, He is sovereign, all-powerful and all knowing. But that doesn’t mean He is orchestrating what happens on planet Earth from His control room in Heaven like some sort of divine puppet-master.
One of the greatest truths that we can bring to someone’s understanding about God is that He is love. This is clearly taught in scripture, and Jesus called it the greatest commandment – to love God and love one another. Love is the hallmark of one who believes in Jesus.
But when tragedy strikes – someone close to us suddenly dies in a tragic accident, or when a massive earthquake buries thousands of people alive, the idea that God is in control becomes a problem. How could a loving God be so cruel? This is a primary argument that atheists use to disparage Christianity. They know it is intellectually dishonest to claim on one hand that God is love and on the other that He is in control.
Rather than saying God is in control, I suggest it is better to say that He is in charge. He does not control everything that happens in our lives, but He can intervene supernaturally. This is the reason why we pray. We are asking God to exercise His sovereign power and intervene in our situation. We are not asking Him to change his mind – we are calling on Him to help us in our time of need. That is a very significant difference, don’t you agree?
This idea that God is in control is also very destructive to the advance of the Kingdom of God because believers use it as an excuse for lack of involvement. Because their worldview says God is controlling everything, they take no personal responsibility for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. At a subconscious level, they believe that God is going to do the work, and their job is simply to go along for the ride. They misinterpret Jesus’ statement of “I do only what I see my Father doing” to mean “I just need to wait until I see God doing something before I get involved.”
Worse yet, they believe it is useless to fight against a rising tide of evil in society because
they consciously or unconsciously believe it is all part of God’s end-time plan and they don’t want to be out of His will. How crazy is that kind of thinking? Yet there is someone not far from you who actually believes this because their worldview says that God is in control.
So remember - God is NOT in control, but He is in charge! Thanks for joining us, and we hope you’ll tune in next time right here on StrateGEMS!