[CF Devotionals] 2008-01-24 - Our Control

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (KJV)

A young mother was murdered in this region a few nights ago and the suspects are the father of their child and her uncle is accused as an accomplice to the crime. The child was left on the side of the road in very cold temperatures. The car seat was seen by a passerby and the child was spared freezing to death. We shake our heads sadly and wonder, "Who could do such a thing?"

The truth is that there, except for the grace and mercy of God, goes each one of us. We are born into our families with no choice in the matter. Just like this child that was rescued, we are given a father and mother. The parents of a child are given the responsibility for their child to raise them - teach them right from wrong, keep them safe, etc. To most of is this seems perfectly natural - the desire to nurture our children has been put inside of us and reinforced by parents and relatives.

This world is far from perfect. This is not to say that there are not accidents and circumstances beyond normal control or expectation, but there are times when the compassion and conscience that should be present in a person seemingly missing or do damaged that it is not functioning. 1 Tim 4:2 speaks of those who's consciences are "seared with a branding iron". These people have no moral compass other than what they want. This does not refer to someone who may do something in a moment of emotion and then return to their senses. This refers to someone who habitually ignores what we may refer to as the rules of society or even common sense but are deliberately selfish or disobedient. The rules of society can also be debated as they slide away from God's standards, but the idea is there that they leave was is right - like leaving a tiny baby on the side of the road in sub-freezing weather or taking the life of another without cause.

There are those who claim the name of Christ who pick and chose the rules they will follow. At times I dare say this includes all of us. Sin is deliberate with remarkably few exceptions. We allow ourselves to get into questionable situations. We toy with an idea that we know we should put down and walk away from. Why would we do such a thing when we have been given so very much - the grace and mercy of God poured over us? Because we are not yet perfect. We may even have the heart to do the right thing. Paul pleads asking why he does the things he doesn't want to do and does not do the things he wants to do (Rom 7:19). Paul's admission kicks down the illusion that any of us has complete control over our imagination or our desires.

Blessedly we have Christ Who has promised not to condemn us in our failures, but opens the way for us to be forgiven. This offer comes from nothing that we have done. We are imperfect and therefore incapable of becoming perfected in our own abilities. We have already failed. But Jesus has set us free from sin. He has not done this so that we can do whatever we feel like doing, but that we can live free of the guilt that held us down and enslaved us. Our control invariably ends up leading us down broken roads and trouble paths. God's control leads us beside still waters (Psa 22) were we can rest, and on paths were we can take the message of His freedom with us where we go.

Many say that control is an illusion. In the light of eternity and our fallible mortality, the perspective may be easier to see. Selah.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com