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Letting Go to God's Control

Taking Control of One’s Life as a Christian

Living Victoriously in Christ


Tools for Victorious Living - 
Scriptural Foundation for Healthy Living and Coping
By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.

 

 

 

Introduction

On May 25, 1995, I surrendered my thoughts, emotions and actions to Jesus Christ. I did this with no real understanding of the ramifications of this event on me, my family, my marriage or my work. Ten years earlier in March 1985 on my fortieth birthday I had come to a major insight, which impacted the rest of my life. I realized that I was an “over-controller” due to my need for approval and low self-esteem. I set out in 1985 on a journey of personal recovery, which resulted in ten books called the Tools for Coping Series published in 1992. I had used this model of recovery successfully but something was missing. The materials used the 12-step model with heavy reliance on a “Higher Power.” I felt serene, secure and at peace. However, there was a “missing piece” from this model, which I found on that day in 1995. The missing piece was that the Higher Power was God and that this God desired a personal relationship with me through the person of Jesus Christ.

 

What an earth shaking change this has had in my life. My family sees me now as a more relaxed, centered and peaceful man who no longer tries to control, fix or take care of them. My wife finds me to be less angry, more peaceful, and more loving towards her. I have found that my clients are more responsive to a real God focus and much happier with the concept that they have a relationship with God they can rely on as long as they confess their sins and accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

 

I am living a victorious life in Christ due to prior ten year experience I had of learning how to improve my self-esteem and thus reduce my over-controlling nature. When I meet my new fellow Christians however I find most of them lacking in the Serenity, peace and victory which coming to Jesus has meant for me. My conclusion has been that many if not most of these unhappy Christians do not realize what a wonderful Gift they have in Jesus. Jesus has come into their lives and he dwells within each one of them. He is there to be personally relied upon at all times. Jesus is their protector, guardian and place of refuge where they can go when the burdens of life are overwhelming. However many of my fellow Christians lack the tools necessary to convert this personal relationship with Jesus Christ into a victorious life filled with happiness, contentment, free of guilt and worry free. What follows is a short course for my fellow believers on how to over come and heal their Over-controlling natures so that they can experience an healthier, happier and more victorious life in Christ.

Don’t let worry kill you.  Let the Church help.

Blooper which actually appeared in a Church Bulletin

 

Over-controlling Rationale

The above quote might be funny but there is a great deal of truth to it. Many Christian have a difficult time living victorious lives in Christ. They are often so shackled down with their emotional and behavioral baggage that they miss the point of being one of Christ’s children. Being Christian does not exempt people from the drive of human nature to control people, places, things and conditions in their lives. The following list contains rationalizations which many people give to explain away why they are so controlling in their lives.

 

Rationalizations or Excuses People Give to Explain Away their Over-controlling Behaviors

  • If they control other people, those people will do what they want them to do.
  • It's a way to keep everything orderly, precise, and predictable, so that they don't go crazy or insane.
  • They hate to be out of control or to lose their control.
  • If things don't go their way, then they feel they'll have to work harder or have to struggle to reorganize and correct them.
  • They have a hard time seeing people they care for hurting because their lives are out of control.
  • They hate to have people see their true feelings especially if they are angry, unpleasant, or negative so they struggle to control them and keep them in so as not to upset others.
  • They have to be on the watch for being taken advantage of by others.
  • They are afraid of being manipulated or led into doing something they really don't want to do.
  • When they see something or someone who needs to be fixed, they often step in.
  • They came from a dysfunctional or crazy home life and they have no desire to repeat it in their current home life.
  • They have an image, dream, or ideal of the way things are supposed to be and they work at trying to get it to be that way.
  • They are afraid that if they don't take care of things, things will never get done.
  • They feel if "they don't do it, then no one will.''
  • They are afraid that everything they have worked for will be lost, so they take control to ensure this doesn't happen.
  • When they feel intimidated, they compensate by taking more control of the situation.
  • They find it difficult not to help when they are presented with a person or thing which appears helpless and out of control.
  • They tend to hold to an "it's my way or the highway'' approach with people who don't do what they want them to do. They hope this will ensure they change their bad behaviors.
  • They are frightened, scared, or nervous when things seem to be crazy or out of control so their first impulse is to take charge.
  • They want everybody in their immediate life to be happy and they'll do whatever it takes to make it so.
  • They know how hard life can be on those who go into it unprepared and unaware, so they do whatever it takes to make sure the people they care for are not taken advantage of.

 

These excuses for overuse of controlling in life are irrational beliefs and defy Hope in Jesus who once and for all made it possible for all people to be saved and to inherit heaven. These irrational beliefs are lies which seem to be based in the father of all lies about whom Christ said: ...when he lies he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the Father of lies. (John 8:44). 


Living a victorious life in Christ frees people from needing to control others so as to have life be the way they want it to be. Most people who try to control people, places, things and conditions out of irrational, unhealthy thinking have ignored the exhortation of Christ: 

Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God, Trust also in Me.(John14:1). 


We who claim Christ as our savior, know that all that troubles are healed by placing our faith in God, since Christ himself affirmed: 

...your faith has healed you. Go in peace. (Luke 23:43). 


How strong a faith do you have in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit? If you find yourself falling into the above rationalizations for controlling behaviors, you must ask yourself why is my faith so weak that I end up trying to do God’s work on earth? You may need to plead with God the prayer of the father of the boy possessed who sought out Christ’s assistance: 

I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) 


We must recognize that in trying to control the people, places, things and conditions around us, we are functioning in an exalted or power position, since only God has control over all things in life. As Jesus said: 

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11) 


If we make a commitment to let go of the need to control and hand over everything, which we cannot control to God then we will no longer be exalting ourselves but will be humbling ourselves in faith to the sovereign will of God in our life. If you are having a problem in over controlling you may need to examine how strong your faith in God actually is. You may need to ask yourself why are you no longer willing to allow God’s will to take effect rather than your will. You need to ask yourself why is it that you are not comfortable in saying: 

...Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. (Matt 6:10).

Traps leading to over-controlling

In the following list are some ways in which others control people to do for them the things they could do for themselves. They use manipulation, intimidation, conning, feigning crises so as to “hook” others into taking over control or rescuing them. Getting others to rescue them from conditions which they need to do for themselves is based on irrational, unhealthy thinking. This behavior defies the exhortation of Christ: 

Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.(Luke 6:38). 


Christ exhorts his followers to not be self-serving and self-focused but rather other-serving and other-focused. Christ encouraged his followers to be personally responsible for themselves and they would receive their reward in eternal life for so doing this. By getting others to take care of them, these people display an obvious lack of faith in the sovereignty of God and have ignored Christ’s promise: 

Every thing is possible for him who believes. (Mark 5:25-34). 


People who manipulate, intimidate, con or badger others into taking over-control for their lives are not living out God’s will in their lives. They are out of fellowship with Christ since he said: Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.(Mark 3:35).  


Taking advantage of the good will of others and getting them to sacrifice themselves to take care of you is out of the will of God since God expects each one of us to carry our own load. By being over-dependent, helpless and needy we are setting up an evil trap for our controlling prone brothers and sisters. As Jesus in Luke 6:45 warned us: 

the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. 


If we are guilty of getting others to take over for our personal lives we are responsible for taking advantage of their generosity and love. We must recognize that in manipulating others to take over for our needs we are working against God’s sovereign plan for our lives, since Christ pointed out that in the case of the blind man in John 9:3 that 

...this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 


God’s sovereign will is not known to us. We are most likely competing or fighting God’s plan for us by not handling our life’s needs on our own without the caretaking and fixing of those we have conned into rescuing us.

 

Ways People Con Others into Rescuing Them or Taking Control For Them

  • They act helpless, incompetent, or lost.
  • They make the other person feel very important and essential in their life.
  • They tell the other person reasons which are a lie why they couldn't get things done.
  • They feel self-pity and act out the belief that they have done everything for everyone in their lives so it's their turn now to be taken care of.
  • They act tense, anxious, and stressed out and incapable of caring for themselves.
  • They resort to threats of suicide or self-destruction to get others to care for them.
  • They give others a set of conditions the others must do for them before they will give them acceptance, care, or approval.
  • They offer others rewards if the others will do what they want done.
  • They threaten others with withdrawal of attention, support, affection, or approval if the others don't do what they want done.
  • They withhold their involvement, attention, and concern if the others don't do what they want done.
  • They play on others’ sympathy and concern by being a pathetic martyr, overworked and unappreciated victim.
  • They play on their physical or emotional illness, be it real or perceived, to get others to do for them.
  • They play on the others’ need to be needed to get them  to take care of them.
  • They play up to others’ guilt and over-responsible nature to get what they want.
  • They act dependent in order to give the other a sense of importance and value in helping them.
  • They fall apart when faced with having to do something which they would rather not do.
  • They play up to a person who has a need to fix things that things have gotten so "out of control'' for them.
  • They promise to change or reform the behaviors the other wants them to change in order to get what they want out of the other, never meaning to change or reform.
  • When they sense another person is pulling away from them, they feign a problem or need which they believe will get that person involved with them again.
  • They act as if they have forgotten to do something which they know the other will do for them.

Healthy control of self

The following list contains signs of healthy control of people’s personal emotional responses to the challenges in their lives  It is important to recognize how well we, control our emotional response to life. We must be alert to how much power we give to other persons, places, and things to affect our thinking, feelings and actions. Our power comes from our life in Christ. If we give others the power over us we are doing exactly what Jesus warned against in Luke 8:16: No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead he puts it on a stand so that those who come see the light.  


We must then consider how often are our feelings out of control? How does it make us feel to recognize our feelings are out of control? John the Baptist gave us the path to healing this out of control feeling and that is by placing our lives more into Christ’s life as he pointed out in John 3:30: He must become greater, (in my life) I must become less (in my own life).  


We then need to identify what irrational thinking or lies of the Father of all lies,  underlies the over or under control of our emotional life. By taking control one way or the other we are puffing ourselves up as if we are powerful and able to control life. We are not heeding Christ’s call to humility in Luke 9:48: ...for he who is least among you - he is the greatest.  


We need to also ask the hard questions as to how well have we accepted that faith in the power of God in our lives is dependent on our blindly handing over ourselves to God whom we have never seen. Faith is the opposite of fear and Jesus warned us that it is easier to trust and have faith when you have seen Jesus but it is even greater faith when one does so blindly: Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29). 


Finally we need to challenge ourselves as to how much do we really trust in Jesus and God. How many of us allow ourselves to worry about the people, places, things and conditions in our lives over which we have no control? When we do worry like this we ignore Christ’s warning: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25 & 26).

 

How People Demonstrate Healthy Self Control in Their Lives

  • They allow themselves to be free, open, and expressive to the feelings they are experiencing at the moment.
  • They usually do not try to hide their feelings, be they positive or negative.
  • They are usually able to accept the consequences of others' response to their positive or negative feelings.
  • They are able to freely express their anger, in an assertive confrontation mode with no raging, yelling, screaming, ranting, or raving at other people.
  • They do not avoid letting others know if they are angry with them and yet they don't blow their cool in the telling.
  • They can show enjoyment, excitement, and enthusiastic feelings when the event appropriately calls for such a response.
  • They are able to openly cry and grieve a loss event in their lives.
  • They are able to do anger workouts over old, unresolved anger in their lives so as to free themselves of the emotional burden and the drain that these repressed and unresolved feelings have on their emotional energy.
  • They are able to express their violent rage and anger outbursts privately so that they can return to people in a more composed way to let them know in a healthy assertive way how angry they are.
  • They are able to analyze their emotions at the time and to see if they are congruent or in synch with their thinking and actions. If they are not, they are able to figure out why and what to do about it.
  • They are able to not allow self-pity to be a driving force in their attitude about freely giving of their time and energy to accomplish what they want out of life.
  • If people in their lives are acting out of control, they are able to freely express their feelings of disappointment or disagreement and yet not get hooked into being out of control with them.
  • If they feel intimidated by other people, they freely admit their feelings to themselves and choose not to let these people control the way they feel, think, or act.
  • They are able to admit feeling powerless over those things out of their control to change, fix, or rescue.
  • They are able to feel at ease and have serenity in letting go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables in their lives.
  • They do not feel they are alone in having to deal with the pressures of life because they feel they have God to whom they can hand the uncontrollables and unchangeables, over which they feel powerless.
  • They feel detached from the behaviors, actions, and negative aspects of the people in their lives for whom they care a great deal and yet are not able to fix, rescue, or change them.
  • They are able to feel good about themselves with no guilt or remorse when they feel detached from the people with whom they have had toxic relationships in the past.
  • They do not let fantasies, dreams, traditions, or promises of the way things are supposed to be interfere with their rationally experiencing life the way it really is.
  • They have no need to be invisible or on guard so as not to be vulnerable to feeling hurt or pain, because they feel it is better for them to be vulnerable in life to experience authentic human growth.

 

Locus of Control

Understanding the concept of Locus of Control will assist people to free themselves of the need to control, fix, take care of, rescue other as well as free other people from manipulating, intimidating and conning people to take care of them. Locus of control means where you place the power to influence how you feel about yourself and others. It is important to determine if the locus of control is external or internal to figure out if you are susceptible to being controlled by others.

 

  • External locus of control is giving other people, places, and things the power to influence your feelings about yourself and places approval, recognition, acceptance, reinforcement, and affirmation of self-worth into the hands of other people, places, and things. Unless others approve, recognize, accept, reinforce, or affirm your worth, then you feel worthless, non-approved, unrecognized, not accepted, and non-reinforced. This makes you susceptible to being controlled by others' thinking, emotions, and actions.

 

  • Internal locus of control is giving yourself the power to influence your feelings about yourself and  places self-approval, self-recognition, self-acceptance, self-reinforcement, and self-affirmation of worth into your own hands. In this way it is only up to you and your own efforts at self-love and care to feel worthwhile, valuable, competent, skillful, creative, knowledgeable, and capable of living your life for yourself and not controlled by others. You are then fully responsible for your own thinking, emotions, and actions in life.

 

Locus of control is a “power” issue. If you give others power over you, you overemphasize external locus of control in your life. On the other hand, if you empower yourself, you emphasize internal locus of control in your life. In order to handle the control issues in your life, it is better to emphasize internal locus of control so that you are able to let go of the need to control and change others and concentrate on controlling and changing yourself.

                                                                             

You need to determine where you currently place the locus of control in your life. To do this, consider these statements and check the ones which are usually true for you.

  • You are able to maintain control of your belief in yourself as a good and worthwhile person despite what others tell you about yourself.
  • You accept and love yourself unconditionally at all times even in the midst of troubles, problems, failure, and pressure.
  • You give no one but you the power to influence how you think, feel and act.
  • You do not need other people's approval, recognition, and acceptance in order to believe in yourself as a good and worthy person.
  • Your self-esteem is strong enough that you rarely are emotionally affected by what people say to or about you.
  • You are not affected emotionally about the response others give you when you assertively let them know how you feel even if the feelings are angry or negative in nature.
  • You are able to openly assert your anger and negativity in a constructive way with others.
  • You are not intimidated to say how you feel by the loss of approval or loss of acceptance from someone who might not like what you have to say.
  • You do not feel dependent financially, emotionally, or physically on any person other than yourself and thus feel free to speak freely and let others know what you think, feel or do.
  • You are able to openly admit when you have made an error or mistake or when you have experienced a failure in life.

 

If you were only able to check 7 or fewer of these items, your locus of control is more external than internal. If you have a healthy internal locus of control, you would have checked all but one or two of the items. If your locus of control is external, then you need to work at strengthening your belief in yourself by self-affirmations and self-esteem enhancement work. Begin to tell yourself:

 

  • I am a good person who needs only my own approval, recognition, and acceptance.
  • I accept and love myself unconditionally.
  • I am a worthwhile person deserving to be respected and given a chance to succeed in life.
  • I am a good person on my own.
  • I can make it on my own if I need to.
  • I will work at controlling and changing only me and my outlook on life.
  • I am the source of approval and recognition I need to succeed.
  • I think I can be less controlling of others.
  • I know I can be less controlling of others.
  • I know I will be in more control of my own life.

Myths and Realities about the Impact of the Function of Locus of Control

The following are some myths and realities about control which are related to the internal and external locus of control.  There are may Christian who are not enjoying the victorious life in Christ because they hold to the myths rather than accept the reality about locus of control as true in their lives. Many Christians are cheating themselves of a joyful life due to their inability to let go of the external uncontrollables and unchangeables in their lives. Unfortunately many fellow believers believe the same myths and are unable to assist and support one another to avoid the over-control trap which all humans are prone to fall into. How many of these myths do you currently believe?

 

                                Myth

 

                               Reality

 

1.  The more I exercise control on others, the more control I'll have in life.

 

Because others are free to accept or reject your control, the resulting dynamic tension between the controlled and controller creates a circumstance in life which is more out of control than you first desired. The more you let go of control over others, the more control you will have over your internal locus of control. This detaching from others allows for peace and serenity in your life as Jesus in Luke 13:34 said: For where your treasure is there your heart will also be.


 

2.  I am not controlling people when I am helping them or trying to fix things for them

 

You are controlling them, however, when you are fixing or helping them and they are not taking personal responsibility and control of their own lives as a result of your assistance. As Jesus warned us in Luke 6:42 :How can you say to your brother, brother let me take the speck out of your eye when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?...


 

3.  If I manipulate others to do what I want them to do, this is not controlling them.

 

You are exercising control over them to do what you want because they are not of their own free will deciding to do what it is you want them to do. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:42 that:  You hypocrite first take the plank out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.


 

4.  I am not controlling others if they are unintentionally intimidated by me and go along with what I want them to do.

 

If you are unintentionally placed in an external locus of control position by others, they have put you in a position of power over them. You are in control over them even though you are not aware of this at the time. Jesus in Luke 6:37 warns us to be alert to how we are relating to one another and to be sensitive to the other: Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.  Following this sage advise will prevent you from unintentionally intimidating others.


 

5.  I should be in control of everything that is important in my life.

 

Unfortunately you are powerless to control most people, places, and things in your life since you can only be fully in control of your internal locus of control and your own thoughts, emotions, and actions. To grow in internal locus of control you need to grow in the Lord, as John the Baptist said in John 3:30: He must become greater, I must become less.


 

6.  I should hold onto and help the people in my life whom I see are having problems taking care of themselves in acceptable, self-responsible and self-controlling ways.

 

The more you try to hold onto these people, the harder they will pull away or the weaker and more dependent on you they will become. It is better to become emotionally detached from their problems and let them solve them on their own so that they still can relate to you in a free and open way. You also need to turn to the Lord and ask the Lord to deal with these people. You need to keep in mind, Christ’s words in Luke 11:9 & 10: ...ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds and to him who knocks the door will be opened.



7.  Other people will condemn me if I become detached from the people close to me.


It makes no difference what others think about you. What is important is helping the people in your life to become more self-responsible and self-controlling of their own lives. You cannot be looking over your shoulder to see what others are saying or thinking about your healthy detaching and not getting hooked into the problems facing the people close to you. Christ pointed out in Luke 9:62 that ...no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the service in the Kingdom of God.

 

8.  I should never let go of those things I am trying to control and change because if I do I'd be considered a failure.

 

Your struggle to control and change things outside of your internal locus of control is going to wear you down and possibly break you. You will be healthier, happier, and more in control of your life if you let go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables in your life. Christ’s own words in Luke 18:29 gives us confidence that if we let go we will be rewarded: ...no one who has left home or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come, eternal life.


 

9. If I love someone, I should always be there for them even if they become a little dependent on me for a while.

 

You're a person who could possibly love a person so much that you contribute to that person's inability to become self-responsible and in self-controlling of life. In reality your love may make the person over dependent on you. Love is learning to let go of the uncontrollable and unchangeable people in your life. Love is placing ourselves in Christ and allowing the Lord to deal with our loved ones. Christ reminds us in John 15:5 that as long as we put our trust in Him we will succeed: I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit, apart from me, he can do nothing.


 

10.  When people are helpless, I should step in and take over to help them get on their feet.

 

People might appear to you to be helpless to help themselves,  but they often have inner reserves of competence, skills, and ability to solve their own problems. If you take over their problems for them, this might disable them from being productive problem solvers and agents for their own change. By always taking over, you encourage their over dependence on you. If you were in need you would not want others to take over for you since you would not be given a chance to rise to the occasion. Keep in mind Christ’s teaching in Luke 6:31 in this regard: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

 

11.  When things are not going the way they should, I should take control of the situation to make it the way it's supposed to be.

 

You are being irrationally led by your dreams, fantasies, tradition, and promises of how life should be. In your idealism you can become so over controlling as to ensure the opposite desired reality will occur. The truth is that life does not always go the way it should. We need to hold on to the truth about life as Christ taught us in John 8:31 & 32: If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.


 

12.  I should take care of things because they will happen the way they are supposed to.

 

A caretaker works hard at being sure that everything is the way it is supposed to be for everyone. This over-controlling behavior succeeds in disabling people who are being cared for and then things are never the way they are supposed to be. You never get what you really want when you are over controlling. Great comfort is available to believers who lay their trust in the Lord. As Christ said in John 14:1: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.


“naos” Holy of Holies - The Answer to External Locus of Control Issue for Christians

Paul tells us Christians in 1 Corinthians 3:16 &17: 

don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple (Greek word for temple: naos) is sacred and you are that temple.  


In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul tells us: 

Do you not know that you body is a temple (Greek word for temple: naos) of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body. 


The Greek word, which Paul uses to describe our bodies as temples, is naos, which is the same term used in the Old Testament for the Holy of Holies or tabernacle in the temple. God would reveal Himself to his believers in the Old Covenant by his Shekinah Glory shining from the Holy of Holies in the temple. In the New Covenant God has chosen for His Glory to shine from our bodies who are believers in Jesus Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. This has tremendous ramifications for us Christian who are struggling with the need to let go of control and to hand it over to God.

 

In the Old Testament the locus of control exercised by God was External because He only allowed Himself to be glorified in one place on this earth in the temple. Now as a result of Christ’s death and resurrection in the New Testament the locus of control exercised by God is internal because each believer is now indwelt by God’s glory and God’s glory is revealed by the individual lives of each believer. Because of this, Christian should have an easier time of letting go of control over people, places, things and conditions because all they have to do is to allow God, who dwells within them, to take over the control issues facing them. This enables the believer to no longer be controlled by External locus of control stimuli from the world since God is present within them and they can rely on their Internal locus of control to survive the irrational thinking and the lies of the Father of all Lies, which leads to Unhealthy exercise of control.

 

Consider the following comparisons of between the location of the temple and the location of control in a believer’s life:

 

                Issue

 

     Location of Temple

 

       Locus of Control

 

Power outside of people

 

God’s Glory only in Temple

 

Control exercised by people, places, things and conditions outside of the person.


 

Power inside of people

 

God is inside of people through indwelling of Holy Spirit in the believers

 

 

With God inside the believers, they can rely on God and maintain locus of control internally.


 

Fear of negative consequences

 

If God was unhappy with his people He might abandon them by not being present in the Temple

 

Fear of what might happen it keeps people giving power to their external factors and keeps their locus of control external


 

No fear of negative consequences

 

God indwelling believers is close and present making fear less of a concern since Faith is rewarded by sense of awe and serenity with God’s Glory so present and immediate.

 

 

By allowing the God within them deal with the control needs believers are freed from fear of negative consequences if no external control efforts are made to fix, take care of the control prompting issue.


 

Distant relationship with God

 

Since God was only available  in the Temple, He was not personal and He very distant from His believers.

 

If people are caught up with the external locus of control they are not relying on God to handle the controlling issues


 

Close and personal relationship with God

 

God by indwelling in the temple for His believers is personal and up close.

 

By relying on God within to take control, believers have a deeper, trusting and more surrendered relationship with God which is a living witness to their deep faith in God.


 

Restricted access to God’s power

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God only accessible in His Holy of Holies by High Priest representing all of God’s People.

 

 

 

 

 

If external locus of control oriented, people feel powerless due to the power which everything out there has over them. It is impossible to experience God’s power in this circumstance.


 

Open, free and personal access to God’s power

 

God’s power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is readily accessible to believers at any time and in any place they happen to be.

 

The Internal locus of control oriented believers feel God’s power at all times and in all places. These believers focus efforts on controlling personal thoughts, emotions and actions and hand all the rest over to God who is within them and empowering them to trust and have faith in God’s sovereign will.


 

Clear boundaries between man and God are maintained

 

God is there in the Temple and man is everywhere but there since only High Priest can enter that place and only one day a year at that.

 

Life seems so out of control when eternal locus of control is the emphasis in people’s lives. It seems unreasonable that these people will ever feel at peace or secure since there does not seem to be any way to control and “fix” all that needs controlling in their world.


 

Less clear boundaries between man and God are maintained.

 

God’s indwelling in the believer blurs the distinct boundaries maintained in the Old Testament. God is now always available to any believer at any time and in any place.

 

Living in an Internal locus of control mode, believers rely on the God within to handle all the uncontrollables and unchangeables in life and there is such a constant flow towards letting go and handing over of the people, places , things and conditions which cannot be controlled, they are Empowered by God and there is no discernible boundary with God in these believers lives.


Recognizing that God dwells within the believer, makes it clear that to be successful in letting go of the need to control the uncontrollables in life, the believer needs to reword the affirmations given earlier which are used to move from external to internal locus of control focus in life. The affirmations needed must give credence to the belief that the Kingdom of God is in the believer as Jesus pointed out in Luke 17:20: 

... the Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say Here it is or there it is because the Kingdom of God is within you.  


These revised affirmations based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God within the believer are:

 

  • I am a good person, who has God dwelling within, and I need only my own approval, recognition, and acceptance since God loves me and has already approved, recognized and accepted me by coming into my life and dwelling inside of me.
  • I accept and love myself unconditionally because God has loved and accepted me unconditionally by dwelling inside of me.
  • I am a worthwhile person deserving to be respected and given a chance to succeed in life because God is in me and I am a child of God worthy of being loved and respected.
  • I am a good person on my own because the Kingdom of God is within me and I do not need to search high and low to get in touch with my God when I am undergoing challenges to my need to maintain healthy self-control over my emotions and reactions to other people, places, things and conditions.
  • I can make it on my own if I need to because: I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)
  • I will continue to work at controlling and changing only me and my outlook on life since God is at work in me taking control of everything else in my life which I cannot change or control.
  • I am the source of approval and recognition I need to succeed, since God has already approved, accepted and recognized me by indwelling in me and freeing me from the burdens which I continuously take off my shoulders and hand over to Him.
  • I know that I can be less controlling of others because God is in me and He can be the one I depend upon to contend with the issues which confront and challenge my serenity.
  • I know that I can be less controlling of others since they are out of my control and I am now continuously handing these people over to God..
  • I know that I am in more control of my own life because I am a temple of God and the Kingdom of God dwells within me.

Steps a Believer Needs to Take to Strengthen the “naos”

It does not help a person to know all that has just been discussed. What is necessary is to change not only the way we think about control issues in our life, we also need to change the way we feel about these control issues. Once we have changed the inner feelings about the control issues then we need to change the way we act on the control issues in our life. What is needed is the TEA System:

 

The TEA System of Recovery from Over-controlling Behavior

When you are in recovery from the behavioral consequences of being an over-controller you need to use the TEA System:

TThoughts

EEmotions

AActions


T ‑Thoughts

First, you need to analyze your thoughts about your life and identify all irrational and unrealistic beliefs, thinking, or ideas, which are at the root of your over-controlling problems in your life. Once you have identified the "sick'' thoughts, then you need to replace them with healthier, more rational, and realistic thinking, beliefs and ideas. It is at this point that you begin to develop daily self‑affirmations, which encourage you on the road to recovery from over-control.


E ‑Emotions

Second, after your thoughts have become healthier, more rational, and realistic, you then need to identify all of your "sick'' emotions and feelings, which were based on your old "sick'' thoughts and then integrate your "new'' healthier thoughts with your emotions and feelings. That way you have healthier, more rational and realistic emotional and feeling responses to the control issues in your life and you begin to feel better about yourself and your ability to handle letting go of your need to control, fix and care take. It is at this point that you work at incorporating the self‑affirmations you have been telling yourself and experience feelings of self‑confidence, self‑worth, and self‑deservedness.


A ‑Actions

Third, only after you have altered your "sick'' thoughts and "sick'' emotions can you change your "sick'' actions and behaviors in the over-control arena. Once you have developed a healthier, more rational, and realistic thinking and emotional life, you can take actions and exhibit behaviors which are healthier, more rational and realistic and result in improved coping by working out of your internal locus of control and keeping your “naos” pure and clean. You hand over and let go of all of the uncontrollable and unchangeable factors in your life including all the people, places, things and conditions and only allow your Holy of Holies to be focused on continuous enriching, healing and purifying your personal thoughts, emotions and actions.


WARNING: You cannot change your actions or behaviors before you have changed your emotional and feeling responses to your control issues. When people change their actions because it is the "correct'' thing to do without feelings, which go along with them, then their recovery from over-control falls flat and dies. You need to change your thoughts and emotions before your actions become "authentic'' and have greater "staying'' power.

Tools for a Believers TEA System in Overcoming the Unhealthy Need to Control

Healing Thought Life

Daily Reading of Holy Scripture: as already evidenced in this discussion about letting go of the control issues in a Christian’s life the Holy Scripture and more precisely Christ’s words themselves speak very loud and clear about control and keeping ones focus on the Lord and not on earthly things. Christ’s reminder in Luke 13:34 encourages us to go deeper into the Scriptures on a daily basis to keep our minds pure and focused on God so that we can keep our thinking clean and healthy: 

For where your treasure is there your heart will be.


Healing Emotional Life

Daily Prayer and Meditation: Placing our hearts, souls and spirits in the Lord daily through prayer and meditation keeps us emotionally relaxed and serene. By prayer and mediation we are doing something proactive on a daily basis about the Letting Go of our uncontrollables and unchangeables in our life. As we record our successes and progress in our prayer journal of the increased detachment and lack of being Hooked by others into an over-control mode, we get the emotional strength to persist in warding off the temptation of falling back into unhealthy controlling behaviors. Jesus’ words in Luke 10: 41 & 42 to Martha who was over-controlling in her efforts to make His visit comfortable while her sister Mary was relishing sitting at His feet during His visit are encouragement for us to go to Him in daily prayer and mediation so that our focus is on Him and not on the things of the world calling us to Control, fix and care take for: 

Martha, Martha...you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.


Healing Actions

Accountability Oriented Relationships with Fellow Believers: Once thoughts and emotions are healed concerning the need to over-control, a believer then needs to fellowship with fellow believers to gain the support and accountability to stay on track and not to relapse or backslide into old unhealthy over-controlling habits or behaviors. Jesus gave each of his believers a “Great Commission” this commission is not only to evangelize unbelievers but also to shore up and support the believers who need help in keeping their “naos” holy and undefiled. This commission is given in Mark 1613 & 15: 

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation. Whosoever believes and is baptized will be saved but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  


Being a supporter to a fellow believer takes humility as described in Luke 13:30: Indeed there are those who are last who will be first and first who will be last. Such humility in dealing with fellow believers will be rewarded Christ claims in Luke 9:48: 

...for he who is least among you-he is the greatest.


Being an accountability or support person for a fellow believer requires a Servant Leadership model as described by Christ in Mark 10 43-45: 

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as ransom for many. 


By helping one another to ward off the pitfalls involved in recovering and healing from over-controlling behaviors, fellow believers are strengthening the corporate Body of Christ and helping each other to stay focused and clear about what is healthy and unhealthy in dealing with these control issues as they arise in their everyday life.

Healed Control Related Actions Resulting from the TEA System of Recovery

By continuous Scripture reading, daily prayer and meditation, and accountable fellowship with fellow Christians, a believer will heal the thoughts and emotions involved in unhealthy over-controlling behaviors. With the new perspective, the “healed” over-controller is then ready to do four major actions in reducing over-controlling behaviors:

 

1. Admitting Powerlessness: This is accepting that only God can control all things. This is surrendering to God’s sovereign power and will. This total surrender is the one commanded by Christ in Luke 9 23 & 24:

...if anyone would come after me: he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever want to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

 

2. Letting Go to God of the Uncontrollables and Unchangeables: This is the handing over to God of all of the people, places, things and conditions outside of oneself which are not covered by the internal locus of control. This external locus of control issues must be handed over to God. Christ in Luke commands this to all who desire to follow Him 16:13: 

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other...

 

3. Detachment: This is the not allowing any of the cons, manipulation or intimidation of others “Hook” you into taking on an Over-controlling A behavior to rescue, fix or take care of them. This means that you are able to feel good enough about yourself that you do not allow guilt, need for approval or fear of rejection dictate how you will cope with the pressure to become Over-controlling. Detachment requires that we are forgiving of and loving towards those who are trying to hook us into being over-controllers. It requires us to remember Christ’s words in Mark 11:25 & 26: 

and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. 


Also to recall the Lord’s statement in Luke 7:47:

...her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.

 

4. Unconditional Acceptance and Love of Others: This is the fulfillment of Christ’s command to us in John 15:12 & 13: 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. 


And in John 15: 17: 

This is my command: Love each other. 


Christ, in Luke 6:27 asks us to love and accept our enemies no matter how bad or mean they are to us: 

...Love your enemies: do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 


Love is the sign of a true Christian Life and the Lord in John 13:34 & 35 made this clear: 

A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. 


Unconditional love and acceptance of all of the people in your life who try to hook you into over-control behaviors is the fulfillment of the Lord’s greatest commandment in Mark 12:30 & 31: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than this.

Conclusion

As a believer in Jesus Christ, the Christian is the new “Naos” or the Holy of Holies in which God dwells. Each believer is a naos. The place of control then in each Christian’s life is within the person due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. By being the new “Naos” Christian have an immense gift upon which they can depend and call upon continuously for the rest of their lives. God’s indwelling provides a Christian with a guaranteed healthy use of their Internal locus of control. However, Christians need to learn some tools to accomplish a stress free life spared of Over-controlling behaviors. Christians also need to practice principles of Christian life so as to insure that they have the ability to put their newly learned anti-over-controlling tools into effect.

 

To live victoriously, a believer needs to rid self of over control in behaviors and ways of relating to others. To do this the TEA system of recovery from over-control must be put into effect so as to heal thought life, emotional life and actions of life, which are control issue related. Once the TEA system is in place the believer then must daily read the Scripture, pray and meditate. The believer must also seek out support and accountability from fellow believers. Finally once these two steps have been accomplished the believer then can admit powerless, let go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables, detach and unconditionally accept life as it is rather than how it should be. This all adds up to a plan, if put into place, which will result in the believer recognizing the victory, peace, serenity and blessing of having accepted Jesus into his life and maintaining a personal relationship with Him. Christians who use Christ as the agent to which they let go all of those things crying out for Over control will free the believer to enjoy life and accept life on life’s terms.