The Illusion of Control


Then he said to his disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them.  Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow:  they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Luke 12: 22-27.)


                Jesus commanded his disciples not to worry.  What is worry?  Worry is a feeling of discomfort in the present that is produced by the expectation of some future pain (By the way, this is the opposite of hope; hope is a present feeling of elation brought about by the expectation of some future pleasure.)  Many were worrying about not having what they needed in the future.  Jesus identified two sources of worry common to human beings; food and clothing.  He presented two animals victorious over their fear in these areas; birds and lilies.  Birds lived in nests, but stored nothing in them.  Birds foraged daily and took with them only what would fit in their stomachs.  Unlike birds, those whom Jesus was speaking too were run on fear; fear of not having enough tomorrow would drive them to horde and strive to gain as much as they could today; in their pursuits they had abandoned truly living life the way that God had desired them to live.  The second organism Jesus pointed too was the Lillie.   The Lilly was a commonly held symbol of beauty in the Middle East.  Jesus said, the lillies don’t toil (work hard), nor spin (sow on a sowing loom), and yet they were dressed more beautifully than King Solomon (Solomon was a king of Israel, and by many accounts the richest man who had ever lived.)  His clothing was the finest money could buy.  The least of God’s works were far better than man’s best efforts.  The people were so focused on providing for themselves, they missed out on what was truly important.  They were ruled by fear instead of faith.  They were focused on the excesses and not the necessities.  They believed they were in control.

                How can worry bring about sick and unhealthy living.  Many people have heard of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.)  The symptoms of the disorder consist of two parts.  First, there is an internal feeling of uneasiness or discomfort (anxiety) that arises out of fear (in severe cases the fear is completely irrational.)  The fear of some future calamity stirs the person to take actions (compulsions) that help them to avoid said calamity.  However, most of the time, the compulsive actions taken, serve only to give the person a false sense of security, or an illusion of control.  For example, someone may have a fear of getting sick, so they believe that if they wash their hands 18 times, they will avoid getting sick (but if a person breaths on them they may catch a cold anyways.)  Some people have allowed fear to rule their lives so much, they can’t even leave the house, or do fun things with others.  Some people work 80 hours a week, and put everything they have in to a 401K account, fearing they will not have enough for retirement, and two days before they retire they die.  Now there are others, who have come to know God, and to follow the teachings of Jesus, and they know a freedom from fear; they focus on today, and the person sitting in front of them.  The important things in life begin to be their focus, and they learn to place all of their trust in God, and in his mighty power, and not in themselves.

                Today, control is an illusion (almost all things are outside of our control), and if we desire to follow Jesus Christ, we need to give up seeking to provide for ourselves in areas where only He can provide.  If we focus on things that we fear we will lose the peace that Jesus provides to those who trust Him.  When you feel yourself getting scared, or anxious, simply step back, relax, and remember this scripture.  Praying can help as well.  God is in control of nearly every aspect of your life, and he handles your future so you can live in today.  Focus without worry on what today has for you, and you will know a peace that surpasses all understanding.  There is such a great freedom in knowing that God is your provider, and that he can always be trusted.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask and pray that You help us to stop living in the fear of tomorrow, or the fear of anything other than You.  Help us Lord to know deep down in our hearts that You will provide for us, and use us today to do Your will.  Help us Father to focus on the basic things in life, and to not focus on the excesses that can distract us from serving You.  Give us Your peace, and make our hearts and minds still, knowing that we can trust You in all things.  We love You Father, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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