One of the biggest struggles in life is between God and the individual. Who is in control? The struggle has lasted throughout history. The reasons have varied, yet the biggest reason these days has to do with fear, death, and daily life. Most have anxiety of these sorts and their lives are built around control, survival, and making sure life is working they way they think it should.
The bible is filled with stories of this battle. In Genesis 2-3, Adam and Eve make a move for control. They see an opportunity to seize the throne of their lives and take it. The end if the story is tragedy because Adam and Eve lose the promise if blessing, life, and closeness to God.
When turn to Christ, we see the example of submission to God. In Philippians 2:1-11, Jesus is noted to have sunken to human level, then to the bottom of the social scale, and lastly to death. However, God raised Him from the dead and put Him over everything. Why fear heaven and death and daily life? Is this not a God to be trusted?
Leo Tolstoy said in his work The Kingdom of God is Within You,
“Wherefore we commit the keeping of our souls to God. For every one that forsakes houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for Christ’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (page 6, Kindle version)
This is a very striking point, but it does reflect what Jesus said in Matthew 10:37 when He said “If you love your Father or Mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me; you are not worthy of being mine.” Although it sounds like Jesus is anti-family, he is actually speaking about control. Jesus is speaking to his male disciples and knows that these people might have families that they were over or loyal to, which was to be expected in their culture. Jesus, however, had a very large mission for them and wants to take it on. Being settled, financially viable, and not moving from place to place meant survival for these people. If they were to follow someone that was not of their family, it could mean taking the family to unsafe and uncertain places. This meant going with Jesus regardless of people telling them that it was not smart and that to go that path would mean endangering the family, which could lead the family to seeking a safer situation.
This is a very high sacrifice to ask of people, to act in a way that is so crazy it would deter the weak willed. We would rather chase what benefits us now. We want safety.
Jesus wants the mission. He wants bravery. He wants faith.
Faith is what counters the want to control our lives, no matter how appealing that control might seem. We must ask what is getting in the way of us following Jesus wholly. Is it a thing, a habit, a person. We must act according to those things. If it is a thing, you might have to change it or get rid of it. If a habit, find ways to stop and replace it with following Jesus in those moments. If it is a person, bring up the issue. If they love and respect you, they will try to seek God’s desires for you or at least think hard about what you are saying.