Center of My Universe?

Galatians 2:20 says "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
In the last few weeks, I have once again observed something that always makes me scratch my head. I was part of a discussion on the question of certain choices that people could make in life- I did not start OR finish this discussion, and my participation or observation had nothing SPECIFICALLY to do with my role as a pastor. As with so many of these discussions, this was taking place around the "Can We or Can We NOT do Action X as a Christian."
I understand this- having asked these questions myself more than once in life. We all have things we want to do- or see- or be part of. When we start asking these questions, there is usually DOUBT. We WANT to do it, and are afraid at some level that we should NOT...and there is a hope that some solution will convince us that we CAN so we can lay that doubt aside.
The question in discussion is not relevant to this post- but one of the participants expressed something like "Well, if God doesn't want me to be happy, then I would not want to follow Him." Not the first time I have heard such a sentiment.
By itself, that is not a remarkable statement- many people, especially those who don't believe to begin with, express such thoughts on occasion. But later I was brought into another discussion, that of God, or religion, or some church or another manipulating or controlling people. Can this happen? Sadly, religions and churches and officials CAN do so. God doesn't need to manipulate you. He commands, and you do, or there may be problems ahead, and your attitude in rejecting that won't change the realities involved in a positive way! Where humans are, there tends to be problems!
Where am I going with this, and how does it connect to Galatians 2:20? We have a desperate tendency to want to CONTROL our life our own way. Our happiness is of central importance to us. Our WILL is of central importance to us. Our PLANS and PERSPECTIVES are of central importance to us. We surrender these very slowly. Some people never do. My personal guess is that we hold on to that sense of "I am the center of my Universe" more tightly than any baby does their pacifier. I do, you do, they do.
When it comes to those who are unbelievers, I get it. I don't AGREE with them, but I get it. If you do not believe in God or an afterlife, then why surrender your control to anyone else? Saying this, unbelievers often surrender to experts or officials or those they are in relationship with. Few trutly stand alone as much as they claim to. But when it comes to self-identified believers, all this desire to retain control is actually a sign of a struggle with internal dishonesty.
Back to Galatians 2:20. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." If I say I am a Christian, it is not MY life to control. It is HIS life to control. I died to that life. Yes, I wake up and I hurt or enjoy the day. I work, I save, I prepare, I obey or disobey, but it is no longer MY life to control. MY happiness is NOT central. MY will and plan and perspective is NOT the definition. Jesus is.
Don't jump ahead. The leadership of Sonrise Church doesn't run your life. I don't. The staff doesn't. The Assemblies of God is not on your command chain...or any other human spiritual organization. We can all point out truth, try to be the best examples we can be for you, but WE are not in charge. Jesus is in charge. His Word is in charge.
How you feel about that has a lot to do with how you surrender to it- swift or slow. But as a believer, trying to control your own life and happiness RATHER than trusting their development to God is a sign that you are struggling to believe what you claim to believe. Struggle is not sin...unless you let it run your life.
So...check that human tendency to demand control. We ALL have things we too...but you and I don't run the show. When humanity does so, going ALL the way back to the beginning,, we don't do it well enough at all.

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