Day 13 Give Away Control
Welcoming the fire of God’s manifest presence sound intimidating – even threatening. I would dare to say that if the thought of God setting your church on fire does not strike a healthy degree of fear in your bones, I seriously question whether or not you understand it.
It is not mere coincidence that the vast majority of “fear nots” in the Bible were spoken by people who had just encountered the manifest presence of God. When Abraham encountered God in the flaming vision, he was petrified. God was bringing Abraham’s control issues to the surface, and He said to him, “fear not” (Gen.15:1). When Daniel encountered the manifest presence of God and muscle-bound angel, he was overwhelmed. God settled him down by saying, “Fear not” (see Dan 10:12). When the apostle John encountered the manifest presence of the exalted Christ, the apostle was not sure whether or not he would live through the encounter. God told him, “Fear not” (see Rev.1:17)
All kinds of scary thoughts race through our mind when we consider welcoming the fire to our church. What if things get out of hand? If people get carried away? If things get messy? What if people get turned off and leave my church?
Some of us are so afraid of false fire misfire or backfire that when things start to heat up, we panic and instinctively reach for the fire extinguishers. One of my admired pastor friends Erwin McManus exposes our controlling instinct when he writes, “Sometimes we forget that God is fire. We confuse Him with fireplaces and fireworks.” When we try to contain God’s fire in a fireplace, we clearly have a control issue.
The question in your church is, does the Holy Spirit control you, or do you control the Holy Spirit? You cannot wholeheartedly welcome the fire without relinquishing control. If you sincerely want the Holy Spirit to take control, you need to give Him control.
Take time today to write out an “I relinquish control” covenant with God. Don’t rush the process. Be as thorough as possible. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the various parameters of control in your life – your family, your thoughts, your habits your use of time, your use of money, your job, your career path – and to show you any control issues you may have with them. Print your covenant. Date it. Sign it. Read it out loud to God. Allow a few trusted friends to read it and cosign it. Return to it periodically and reread it
Jesus, What You are teaching me today is _____________________________________________
Jesus, the action step that I will take is _________________________________________________