Home Pastor's Corner . Watch out for control freaks

. Watch out for control freaks

WATCH OUT FOR CONTROL FREEKS

Reading the Jerry Bridges devotion from ‘Holiness – day by day’, I felt drawn to write the following article and to include some of his thoughts.

Just recently I completed maybe one of the most important series that I guess a pastor can preach to his congregation. It was entitled ‘Experiencing the power of the cross’. If you were not part of the series, I want to challenge you to read through it slowly.

That which I want to share in this Pastor’s Corner article is greatly impacted by that series as well as another series entitled “who are you to judge?”

In Christianity we are taught that our faith is because of, by and through Christ alone. We are taught that our whole Christian faith and life from beginning to end is a work of grace, we are taught that the Word of God is our final authority from beginning to end.

Now, if this is all true, why is it that so many time certain Christians seek to control us and exert authority over us and seek to micro manage our lives as if Christ, Grace and the Word of God is not sufficient in our lives? It is as if they and they alone understand the standards, and they will tell you what those standards are according to their opinion, and heaven forbid that you disobey their standards, because you will be damned. Paul warns us against these kind of people in Galatians 6:13 and tells us that “they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.” Now circumcision is not the issue for most of us, so I guess today Paul will be saying many other things, like ‘you must home-school’, or ‘you must do this or that evangelism program’, or ‘you must dress like this or that’, or ‘a women must not work away from home at all (based on their view of Scripture)’, or ‘you cannot go to movies or watch TV at all’, or ‘you must date this or that way’, you must raise your children this or that way’, ‘or you must honour this or that spiritual leader and reject the rest’ and so we can go on and on. Now while they might be accurate in parts of their claim, most of these are areas where you need to seek God’s will for your life and make sure that you honour God and glorify Him in all you do. There is not a one size fits all in any of the areas above.

Now what kind of people are these?

They are what we will call ‘control freaks’ or ‘micro managers’.

They are people who aren’t willing to let you live your life before God as you believe he’s leading you. They have all the issues buttoned down and have cast-iron opinions about all of them. These people only know black and white. There are no grey areas to them. They insist you live your Christian life according to their rules, their values, their culture, their preferences and their opinions. If you insist on being free to live as God wants you to live, they will try to intimidate you and manipulate you one way or another. For them Romans 14 which discusses our basic freedom only works when it suits them. They might be claiming to be raising the bar for you, but they are actually stumbling over your freedoms in Christ, and want you bound to their standard.

Their primary weapons are their understanding of the Bible, guilt trips, rejection or slander (gossip). These people must be resisted. We must not allow them to subvert the freedom we have in Christ. Paul treated the legalism in the Galatian church as heresy, and he called down a curse on its perpetrators. I’m not prepared to go that far with our present-day legalists/controllers or micro managers, but I want to tell you that their actions are no incidental matter. Their presence in our evangelical ranks is much more than a minor irritant, like a fly buzzing around our heads. Their presence have caused young Christians to stumble and even walk away from the faith (if that were possible). They have turned the church into a club of like-minded, super spiritual clones. They parade their spirituality like the Pharisees of old. They want to be seen and honoured. You are either ‘in’ or you are ‘way out’. They have emptied pulpits, getting rid of pastors that did not come up to their exact standard. Sadly some of these ‘control freaks’ are pastors as well.

There are spiritual casualties all over the world today because of the effects of legalistic control freaks in their lives. They have been around a long time. More than three hundred years ago, the Puritan Samuel Bolton wrote these instructive words: “let us never surrender our judgments or our consciences to be at the disposal and opinions of others, and to be subjected to the sentences and determinations of men. . . . It is my exhortation therefore to all Christians to maintain their Christian freedom by constant watchfulness. You must not be tempted or threatened out of it; you must not be bribed or frightened from it; you must not let either force or fraud rob you of it.”

No matter what they say, no matter how they twist Scripture or simplify its meaning, no matter how spiritual they look, no matter if they seem to have their act together and you don’t, the Word of God remains our final authority in faith and conduct, you have freedom to think for yourself and to responsibly apply the Word of God in your life. Your final security is in Christ alone and not in some addition or some law. To crown it all - grace will lead you home.

 

Do listen to this well known song, sung by Kristen Stanfill and be encourage to stand firm in Christ alone.