Jumbo shrimp. Military Intelligence. Harmless crime. Non-fat ice cream. Even Christian psychiatrist. These are all oxymorons, figures of speech where seemingly contradictory words appear side by side to describe a concept. I know today’s Stepping Stones will sound like a contradiction as well, but here it is: “Be free by being controlled.”
At first glance, this instruction, “Be free by being controlled,” sounds impossible. You are probably thinking, isn’t the definition of freedom: ability to self-rule, no restrictions or controls, release from captivity or slavery. Freedom is the absence of control, so how do we get freedom by being controlled?
But this is a lesson we see and learn clearly and frequently throughout life. Obey the rules, or controls, of the land, and you get to be free from the confines of prison. Submitting to your teacher’s control, instruction, learning principles, and strategy allows greater freedom to choose the vocation you want. Submitting to your coach’s control provides you more freedom from anxiety, pressure, and fear when you face a difficult opponent. Submitting to a theatre director or music teacher produces great freedom to explore the art, maximize your expressiveness, and freely become the art form.
The same is true spiritually. As you submit to the Holy Spirit, stop fighting the way of God, put on the daily armor (more on Armor of God), and let the Holy Spirit control your mind and actions, you become free from the world and are supernaturally empowered by God. You become increasingly released from the condemnation of sin and free to become the one He created you to be.
Unfortunately, this law of life runs contrary to the world’s misguided system. That’s why the concept seems like an oxymoron. Satan is trying to trick you into thinking you are smart and independent enough, and thus, do not need to submit to any controls in order to live free. Observing the examples above is easy, but submitting our inner thought world and our entire being to an intangible person often seems beyond our me-centered agenda and vision. If you don’t choose God’s controls, by default, you will be using your own near-sighted ones, or Satan’s destructive ones.
Today, look at the controls in your life that allow you freedom. Also look at areas in your life that aren’t working out well. You most likely need some stronger controls or guidance in those areas. When you sin confess it, immediately. This gets you back into unimpeded fellowship with God, and places the Holy Spirit back on the throne of your life. In an important decision today, invite the Holy Spirit to guide you, and really submit to His guidance, observing and experiencing how it plays out. Let Him live in the depths of your spirit. His work can liberate you to be completely who God intended you to be, and live the life that is WITHIN REACH. Your decision, choose your controls well.
Dear Father God, My desire to be in control is constantly getting in the way…by doing things my way, I am continually sabotaging myself. I know that when Your Holy Spirit is controlling my thinking and behavior, I feel more alive…more real. I am freer to live how You want and designed me to live. I pray for humility to allow the Holy Spirit to think for me, live through me, and love on me. I pray this in the freeing name my savior, Jesus Christ; and all God’s people say – AMEN!
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be controlled by the Spirit is life and
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.