I’m sorry, but you can’t control it.
APRIL 10, 2023
I’m sorry, but you can’t control it. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God, this sinners and sufferers, because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re in a series of teaching sessions based on a book that I wrote. It’s not a, it’s not a wonderful book, but it’s not half bad either. The title is Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. And every time I publish a book, I spend some time on this broadcast and then I listen to your response and I know whether I’ve become a heretic or not. But at any rate, we are spending time in the book and it’s a different kind of Bible teaching. I didn’t make up these ideas, they’re all Biblical. Some of the chapters that we have already covered, chapter one, The Surprising Laughter and Lament of God, and then Life is Hard and Then You Die, that was fun. Life is Hard, Then You Get Angry. Life is Hard and Then You Repent. Life is Hard and Then You Laugh. And for the last two or three weeks we’ve been looking at that particular concept, the concept of the laughter of God and the laughter of God’s people. Now, we’re going to move into another subject, but before we do, it’s our practice to pray on mondays, let’s do that. Father, as we come into your presence, we’re surprised we’re here. They told us we had to be good enough, we ought to read the Scripture a lot and pray, and then you would crack the door and we could come in. And we tried and couldn’t pull it off, and we turned to leave with tears. And that’s when we heard your voice, welcome child. And the door was open, and we’re here because we’re yours. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast. You know the things that are difficult and the things that are easy. You know the tears and the laughter. Remind us that you are sovereign over all of that and sufficient for every need. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and Him only and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay. What we’re going to be talking about for the next week or two is the problem of control. I don’t know about you, but I have problems with control issues. I was raised as the child of an alcoholic, and if you’ve been there and you’ve done that, you’ve got exactly the same problem that I have. Every time things got out of control, I got hurt. So, I learned to control my environment, to control other people, to control myself, to control my emotions, to control what I said. And it almost killed me because listen to me, you can’t control all of that. But you can find relief when you worship a God who is in control of every bit of it. And so, there is a sense, and there’s a problem with this statement, but still there’s a sense in which it’s true. Let it go, let it go, let it flow. Let God take care of it, and you go out and play with the other children. Control, the mother of all addictions. Listen to this from Matthew.
Jesus said, therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow. For tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
And he said, I’m sure, after he said that to the disciples, you can’t control it, anyway. My friend, author and counselor Sharon Hersh has said.
That the last addiction to die is the addiction to control.
You know something, she’s right, not only that, the addiction to control is the reason we lament so little and laugh even less. Lament if it gets out of control, will send us over the edge. And laughter, if that gets out of control, will make us look silly. And so, we try to control both. Don’t go overboard and laugh too hard at the joke you heard. And when it’s painful and the tears flow, hide the tears. We have recently seen the movie Jesus Revolution and we had the producer of that movie on our talk show. That would be Steve Brown Etc. And you can get it if you’re in one of the 160 or 260 markets where it’s heard or you can go to Keylife.org. It was a great interview, but the people who created the film sent us a live stream so that everybody on the talk show would have an opportunity to look at the movie. So, I went into my study and I got on the live stream and I watched about 15 minutes before I fell apart. It’s the film record of what happened 50 years ago in the Jesus movement, and I was in the middle of that and it changed my life and it changed the church I was serving in the Boston area. It was an amazing and wondrous and joyful time. And as I watched it and they got it, if you haven’t seen that movie, see it. They got it and I fell apart and started crying and I said to myself, I’ve got this day job. If I’m a wuss, I can’t pull it off, and I certainly can’t do this talk show crying. And so, I thought of somebody who drove me nuts and I felt better about it. And came back into the studio and we did the talk show. I decided, and I said on the air that I’m going to go see the movie because the theatre is dark and nobody will see me cry. And everybody knows that real men don’t cry. What was going on? Do you think, that’s cold control and it’s an issue with which most of us deal. Before we talk about control, I need to say a word about quietism. You say, say what? Well, it’s an ancient Christian heresy from the 17th century and associated with the Spanish priest and mystic Molinos. It’s certainly a gross oversimplification, but the movement was a let go and let God teaching, and it said that we’d need do nothing but just be still. Now, listen to me. The Christian faith is not quietest. I want to make sure as you listen to what I’m going to be teaching you about this subject, that you don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Someone has joked about a man sitting on a tack because it hurts so much, people started giving him advice. One person said that he should pray more and it wouldn’t hurt so much. Another said that he needed to repent because repentance would lessen the pain. Someone said he obviously offended a magician when he was little, the pain was his curse. And advised him to find the magician and ask for forgiveness. Some said the pain was because of his unhealthy diet. And others told him that if he would stop smoking, the pain would be less. Finally, a little boy came up and said, Hey Mr. Why don’t you, why don’t you just get off the tack. When Paul said, but one thing I do, Philippians 3:13, he was saying that he got off the tack. The Christian faith is not a passive faith, it’s active. And I’ll spare you the long list of Scripture passages affirming that fact. However, the Biblical faith does sometimes smell quietest. For instance, the writer of Proverbs said.
That we should trust God with all of our hearts and not lean on our own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5. Over and over again the Psalms call us to be still and know that God is God and can be trusted. And Jesus said.
Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the air, they neither sew nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
That’s Matthew 6:25 through 26. And so, we’re not a part of the heresy of quietism. I mean, you don’t just sit around and do nothing. We’re not a passive faith, but there are elements of our faith that do sound that way. Most things you really can’t control. And when you realize that, you realize who really is controlling and that would be God. And you can trust him. You think about that. Amen.
Control the mother of all addictions. Thank you Steve, for that reminder and encouragement. If you’re just joining us, we’re winding our way through the Biblical foundations of Steve’s latest book, Laughter and Lament. And we’ll continue in that exploration tomorrow, discussing our tendency to run from our pain and from our laughter. Hope you’ll join us then. And hope you had a great Easter, by the way. I don’t know about you, but at our house we do little gifts to celebrate, not the main focus obviously. But there’s something to be said for that element of surprise and delight and appreciation. It’s a little like what we do here at Key Life, offering little free things every day, and today is a good one, the latest edition of our print magazine. This one features articles from Jenni Young, Kendra Fletcher, Chad West, and Steve. Plus there’s info on our new book subscription service, Key Life Book Box. Why not claim your copy right now? Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. Or to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact for our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of Key Life Magazine. Finally, a request, would you consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card. You can include a gift in your envelope. Or just text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.