Day 59: Who is in control of your life? (Acts 27:1-38)
Today’s Passage: Acts 27:1-38
Ever had those days, weeks, or seasons in life when you don’t feel like you have even a smidgen of control over what is happening?
I get that control is often an illusion, but most days we live in that illusion. We go about our days, without hurricanes, tornadoes or worse, and we seemingly appear to have control over many of the external parts of our lives.
Not so if you are under arrest. One of the first things you notice is that you are completely subservient to whoever holds the keys.
For the last two years this has been Paul’s world.
Today we read a rather detailed account of the first part of his trip to Rome. We note that in verse 3 Paul is given the opportunity to see some friends. But make no mistake, he is bound for Rome on a ship that is carrying prisoners—most of whom will be entertainment in the Coliseum for Rome’s citizens.
The lost of control comes vividly into the picture as the ship is caught in a storm. Paul warned them, but they did not listen. This is another indicator that he does not have control.
Or does he?
As I have been reading these last few chapters (since his coming to Jerusalem) I perceive Paul is behaving as if he is in control.
To me it appears as if he is in complete control—control in the sense that he is following God, accomplishing the course God has set him on. In fact, we read again today that the Lord visits him and ultimately the men of the ship. The men who had lost all hope of being saved (verse 20) turn and listen to Paul.
This idea of control, do we have it, etc. is at the heart of the Christian walk with God.
In our world there seemingly are visible external signs that we have control of our lives. We are free to go where we want, free to eat what we like, etc. But then there is what you might call our “internal control”—how we think, speak and act.
Let’s think a bit more about this idea of control.
My comments about external control, e.g. freedom to eat what we like, really only applies to well-to-do people in “first world countries”. So that in reality, about 16% of the world’s population lives in this sort of bubble. Most people do not have external control. Ponder that for a moment. Most people on the planet not only have no choices about food, they wonder if they will have food. And that is just one example.
Yet everyone on the planet has a choice about our internal lives. What we focus on, how we think, etc. can be governed independent of our external circumstances. And here we must not deceive ourselves. We are either for God, or for self.
Will we allow God to control our lives? Will we trust His providence? Or will we seek to live for self, and wrestle to control our world?
That last link to “action”, comes from Romans 12:1-2 of The Message Bible:
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
God invites us to give him control…by offering everything we think, say, and do…to Him. In fact, to look to him- to FIX OUR EYES ON HIM – not the culture of our day for our direction.
How do we do that? By spending time with him in His Word and His people.