If God Is In Control, Does It Matter What I Do?

Just how much control does God have over our daily lives? It might be helpful to take a look at the Bible, God’s handbook for living, to help us decide. This post is based on the
five main points from a message on this topic by Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.[1]

God's hand with a remote controler

  • God is in control of everything that happens in His universe/creation

God does have the power to control everything that exists and everything that happens.

Isaiah 45:7 tells us, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”

Proverbs 16:4 states, “The Lord works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster.”Ultimately, God is in control of everything, including Satan, Adam and Eve, and even the Jewish and Roman leaders who nailed Jesus to the cross, as well as natural disasters such as tsunamis and floods. He may not cause these things to happen, but He does allow them.

  • God’s plan for His universe extends to every part of every life.

God knows about and could change any aspect of our lives, as shown by the following verses.

Daniel 2:21, “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.

Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Acts 4:27-28, “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

  • His sovereignty extends over our choices, mistakes, and failures.

God has the power to accomplish His purpose for your life. His sovereignty extends over our choices, mistakes, and failures. He has a perfect will, and, according to many, also a permissive will, which might be termed “plan B”, to allow for the imperfect actions of mankind.

As a Got Questions article, What is the difference between God’s sovereign will and God’s revealed will? states, ”Because God is sovereign, He must at least ‘permit’ all events and happenings. Within God’s sovereign will, He chooses to permit many things to happen that He takes no pleasure in. Again citing the example of Joseph and his brothers, God chose, by an act of decretive will, to allow the kidnapping and enslavement of Joseph. God’s permissive will allowed the sins of Joseph’s brothers in order to bring about a greater good.”[2]

Ephesians 1:11 describes how all that happens is ultimately leading to His objective, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”

  • God’s power does not exempt us from the responsibility for our choices.

Scripture tells us to make wise choices, as in Proverbs 28:26, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”We must still suffer the consequences of our own decisions.

  • God’s sovereignty offers me peace from my past… my responsibility offers me hope for my future

God has the unquestionable power to forgive us and redeem us from our sins, and we are free to choose to follow Him and thereby have a glorious future. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

God is to us as a parent is to a child, but with a difference

These five points help to illustrate the relationship between ourselves and God, a relationship which is in many ways similar to that between a child and a loving parent. When a child learns to ride a bike, the parent watches, guiding the bike’s progress in the early stages, and then deciding when to remove the training wheels to allow more independence. Even after that, the parent is there to provide comfort and a band-aid when the inevitable accident happens.

There is, however, one big difference. The child is aware of the supporting hand, but, with practice, grows in confidence and ability to ride the bike on her own without assistance. By contrast, as each of us grows in our personal, individual relationship with God, we should learn to lean on Him, and to increasingly depend upon Him to guide and support us through life. By creating us with free will, God gives us spiritual independence from the outset, and we need to learn dependence on Him to become spiritually mature.

 

[1]Dr. Robert Jeffress, Although the Script’s Been Written, You Can Still Improvise, January 31, 2016, http://www.firstdallas.org/files/uploads/secondchanceoutlineanswers1-31-16.pdf, accessed May 23, 2019.

[2]Gotquestions.org, What is the difference between God’s sovereign will and God’s revealed will?https://www.gotquestions.org/Gods-will.html, accessed May 22, 2019.

 

Becoming a Christian: A Single Moment That Lasts for the Rest of Your Life (and After)

Before I became a Christian, I had no idea what it meant. I did not understand that it would lead to a whole new way of life; something that would impact just about everything I do, and even the way I think. My earlier ignorance assumed that Christianity, or any other religion, was simply a matter of attending a house of worship on a weekly basis and following a few basic rules of living.

Holy bible,Teenager man holding Holy bible ready for read and have relationship with god faith, spirituality and religion concept.Becoming a true Christian means that you have come to believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. This is a process that, for me, took several years of reading Christian books, going to bible studies, and finding and attending the right church. I remember feeling a little envious of those who appear to be “saved” instantly when attending a Billy Graham meeting or going forward for an altar call. Could it, or should it, really be that easy? Why did it take me about four years of investigation before I even began to feel comfortable as a Christian? I now realize that it is a lifelong journey. Fifteen years and an MA in Christian Apologetics later, I am still learning, and the more I learn, the more I discover I still need to learn, and want to learn.

“Salvation” is the term used by Christians for the process whereby a person is accepted by God to become a citizen of His future kingdom, a citizenship that lasts for eternity following our brief time on Earth. It appears that there are three parts to this process. First comes Justification, which happens at the instant in time that we are accepted by God and is enabled by our faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Second is Sanctification, a process that begins after justification and continues, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, for the rest of our lives in that we are willingly being conformed into God’s image. Finally, Glorification occurs when we leave our aging, imperfect, earthly bodies and begin eternity in Heaven with a new, “glorified” body.

God is in control of all aspects of salvation, so where does the much-debated “free will” come in? After much thought and investigation, I believe that, before salvation, each of us has to take the decision to accept Jesus Christ into our lives and, openly and honestly, reach out to Him. Hebrews 11:6 states, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” After that, God takes over, draws us towards Him (John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day”),and the Holy Spirit begins working within us to prepare us for God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned”).

God’s saving grace is available to all of mankind, but each person, individually, has to choose to accept it by welcoming Jesus into his or her life. Then begins the journey, firmly based on the truth of how we came to be in this world in the first place, towards the life that God has always planned for us. This life is clearly described in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” So, if your hectic, technology-driven, comfortable-yet-not-fulfilling life is not bringing the inner satisfaction you thought it would, an honest, heartfelt acceptance of the truth in Christianity, in my experience, will never fail.