108 Authority

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-19

If God is in control, does that mean that He chooses for us what we will decide? Are we the slaves to God’s will? One of my readers got me wondering about this.

God is in control, but He is not controlling. God leads us without controlling us. He is more like a stereotypical grandfather than a stereotypical father. He does not stand over us chastising us for every mistake.

Think about Joseph and his brothers. God did not make Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. They choose what to do themselves because they were jealous of Joseph’s robe and his dreams. They debated what exactly to do with Joseph. They considered murdering him, but decided instead to sell him into slavery; “after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” (Genesis 37:27)

Pontiphar’s wife began to lust after Joseph. When Joseph ran away from her, she decided to accuse Joseph of trying to rape her. Pontiphar believed his wife and had Joseph jailed. In all of this, God worked His will without controlling anyone. In the end Joseph became head of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Joseph had his family brought to Egypt and so saved them from seven years of intense famine.

How can God be in control without being controlling? How does He make His will triumph against human rebellion? This is a mystery for which only God has the answer.

We choose whether or not to submit to God’s will. I have been reading the biography of Oswald Chambers. According to Chambers as reported by his biographer, David McCasland, “The purpose of prayer…was to get into step with God, not to manipulate or coerce Him into blessing personal plans.”

Is God controlling? A pastor helped me see the deeper question. If we surrender to God in trusting obedience, will we feel controlled by God? Perhaps, but that does not mean that God is controlling us. How we feel flows from how we interpret the circumstances of our lives, from what we think about what is happening around us. If we believe that God wants to control us, then we will either feel controlled by Him or choose to rebel against Him.

After saying “All authority…has been given to me” Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples….” He has authority, but we need to obey. The choice is ours.

Seeking (imperfectly) to obey my Master,

Noah Woodrich

Living for the glory of God by grace received through faith in the Messiah, the Word of God made flesh.  We have a dream & request support and prayers.

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement.

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