Dying For Control


“Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

~Matthew 26:41, NET


The LORD wants you to die…to your sense of control so that He can live through you in resurrection power.

~Charles F. Stanley

I read five different devotions each morning and it amazes me how often they address the same subject. The above verse has to do with the disciples who were sleeping on the job. Jesus warned them to stay awake and pray but they didn’t listen. They relied on their flesh, their own will power and it let them down. Their flesh failed them. The flesh bats 1.000 in the negative, it never fails to let you down. The flesh is consistent, it fails all the time: it has no ability to please God. Does you life ever feel out of control like an automobile hydroplaning on a wet road. Do you have problems that you cannot fix no matter how hard you try? Do you have dreams, desires and aspirations that you have given up as hopeless? Why does the LORD allow us to continually fail?

You might say it is His gracious way of convincing us to give Him the keys and the wheel. To move out of the drivers seat and become a passenger. Every human thinks he or she knows what’s best for themselves and we all want to be in control. This is a little poem I learned as a young preacher…it speaks to our subject…

As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend.
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my Friend.

But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched the back and cried,
“How could You be so slow”-
“My child,” He said,
“What could I do? You never did let go.”

All the Calvinist hate the cliche, “Let go and let God,” but it is true in a sense. It is His sovereign will to work through our will. He does not use force in these matters. Did Jesus really want His disciples to stay awake and pray? Yes He did!  Did He force them to stay awake and pray? No, He did not. Did they eventually learn not to trust their flesh? Yes they did and I am sure they never forgot the night in Gethsemane.

You would suppose at age 72, the flesh would no longer be a problem but you would be wrong. The flesh is like pride, it never goes away. It is something we have to deal with daily. Yes, it is humbling but it helps us realize how totally dependent we are on Christ. My flesh let me down twice on Wednesday. I passed a beggar on the street and he asks for a dollar. I had at least 80$ on me but I told him I didn’t have a dollar. I don’t mind giving anyone a dollar but I figured he would use it to support a habit but I didn’t handle the situation right and I have been kicking myself since. I lied to the man and that bothers me. I wish I could relive the moment and do what is right. Then Holly and I are trying to find some comfort in a waiting room. We picked one out that was vacant but soon a couple of people came in and one old bitty rudely interrupted my rest saying, “You have to wear a mask.” I was gracious to her, the kindness of Christ was oozing out my pours, NOT! I said, “Do you work for the hospital?” She said,  “Yes, I do and it’s my job to see that people follow the rules.” I said, “I have asthma and I can breath in a mask.” She said, “Just raise it every few seconds and get a breath.” {Typical lib} I said, “Then what is the purpose of wearing it in the first place?” To quote one of my son in laws, “Long story short,” I got up and went to the cafeteria. I bought a cookie and a Diet Coke and nibbled on the cookie the rest of the day. If you are eating, they can’t make you wear the infernal mask. So is my flesh alive and well? As Luther would say, “You better believe it.” Am I pleased with its performance? No, I am very disappointed. I loath both my flesh and my sin. They are a stench to my nostrils.

June and Holly had a pretty good night but didn’t get much rest. I know Holly is exhausted. Hannah is going tup to take her place today. I was upset with the LORD when Holly was born, she was supposed to be a boy, John Daniel which would give me two J.D.’s but the LORD knows best. He was right and I was wrong. I did make one mistake, I should have named her Jack or Jackie. She is more like me than any child we have. We do appreciate the love and support of our church families. We are wealthy people: we have two church families. We are also rich in friends.

I didn’t intend to blog today and don’t know how consistent I will be in the next few days but I felt like a confession was in order. I feel a little better at your expense. Have a great day and thanks for reading the blog.

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