Monday, July 14, 2014

How Much of Your Own Life Should You Try to Get to Control?

When I was a much younger man, an unsaved man, I read several books by pick up artists.  The objective was of course seducing a woman unknown to the man to consent to have sexual relations that very first time before a second meeting.  The trick of course was for the man to achieve a certain interpersonal charm over the woman, that is, acquire control over the interaction with her. 

Not only do pick up artists write books professing to offer techniques and strategies to men to achieve great control over their interactions with women to get to have sexual relations with them almost as soon as meeting them, but there are authors in business, in social circumstances offering holy grails in form as manuals and how to books that offer us all the moon, the stars, and the sun..
For a long time, it escaped my why I was so frustrated with being unable to have dominion over my own life.  Then it dawned on me after having heard a church service on control. This morning, I overcame my frustration when I had a eureka moment.

It occurred to me that it’s deceptively persuasive that since I’m the one living my life, that I am responsible for all that happens in its course. That I am responsible and should have power over circumstances and people. And if I fail to achieve control, then I’d be doomed as a failure and as a fool. 

This is a very deceptive lie we deceive ourselves with. Society does it to us. People who seek to brainwash to be competitive also do it to us.  It’s a vicious lie! What we’re responsible for controlling are our free wills, not our whole lives. What about our lives? Don’t we live them?
We live them but they are not ours. They were lent to us by the God who created us. Our lives belong to Him and not to us!
Ye are not your own: for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."2
21 Corinthians 6:19-20.
So why do we torture ourselves by seeking to gain control and mastery?  I don’t know. I’ll venture a guess though.  There is a spirit of pride, the pride of life.  I can attribute this tendency to that.

This article is written in the spirit of providing enough document to establish this thesis, that we don’t own and therefore are not entitled to seek to control even the lives we live, much less control other people or circumstances in our lives.
Last week, in midweek service at my church, Central Bible, here in West Miami Dade County, Florida – my pastor discussed control issues that too many of us people have. He elaborated that we try to control either other people or circumstances and when we fail to achieve such control we truly get upset.
Why should this happen?  It takes a person given to a naïve and unrealistic mentality to presume that just by reading a book, he or she will acquire super-duper powers over circumstances, people, or people and circumstances combined.  This article examines reasons why it would be useless to seek to acquire power of control over other people or circumstances, something we as humans are neither naturally empowered nor entitled to seek to do.

Before I go deeper into this discussion, let me produce the best of the self-help gurus of all time, Nicolo Machiavelli, political advisor to the great Renaissance leaders of his time in Medieval Italy. The book being quoted is The Prince, a treatise on statecraft he wrote for Césare Borgia during the 1480s or 1490s.  In this passage, Machiavelli is getting the Prince’s head down to earth.
“[N]ot to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other half, or perhaps a little less.”1
 1 The Prince (page 121), by Nicolo Machiavelli - translated by W. K. Marriott, written c1505, published 1515. Retrieved from

  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.3
3 Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

The book of Ecclesiastes was, it is believed, written by King Solomon who wrote also The Proverbs.  According to Ecclesiastes, to other Biblical sources such as the Second Book of Samuel, King Samuel had amassed tremendous power, tremendous wealth, land, luxury, and yes, women. He is said to have loved many strange women.  In the end of Ecclesiastes, what did Solomon conclude?  That the whole duty of man was to fear God and keep God’s commandments.

So now, my friend, who’s truly entitled to do any controlling? If you said God, you’ve just proved that you’ve profited greater wisdom in this life and hopefully in your next as well. That means quit trying to get control. It’s not worth seeking.

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