Remote controls are one of the most universal symbols of our modern technologies. Some electronics enthusiasts might have a dozen remotes scattered on their coffee tables for their electronic equipment; even your friends who are not fans of electronics most likely have a handful of remotes at their disposal, controlling everything from TVs, air conditioners, security systems, car door locks, etc...and of course, all of us probably have at least one or two remotes permanently lost under the cushions of our couch.
In today's modern world, we can set our television to record from across the globe through a smartphone app. We hardly have to lift a finger from the comfort of our chairs to control any home electronic device. We forget that people once had to get up to change the channel. We tend to take the remote control for granted. It allows us to command our devices efficiently and reliably. Remote controls have come a long way—there are even wireless ones now!
BUT, as Americans we tend to take a good idea and run with it and we start treating everyone and everything the way we treat our electronics. We mute them, and whenever we try to program people to think like us and when we can’t---we get frustrated! We shut them out, we can raise the volume when we do not like what we hear and then we close them down. Look at all the ones who are trying to shut down people who have a different opinion or belief system than they do today.
Have you noticed we have done the same thing to God? We treat God the way we treat our remote control. We stiffen under the thought that someone else might be controlling us. In fact, many of us, if we’re honest, are control freaks. How many of you have issues of control when it comes to your personal life? This idea of control is deeply imbedded in our culture, our value of freedom and the American dream. The American Dream states that anyone can succeed through hard work and has the potential to lead a happy, successful life. That is what the world teaches us.
For those of us who call ourselves Christians or Believers, Jesus is ALWAYS our best example. Rather than choosing to control His own life, Jesus instead chose to surrender everything to the will of God, His Father. When Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted, it was an exercise over control of His life. Would He be in control or would He surrender it to God? When Jesus was on the cross, He was tempted to take back control first by the passersby who cried out, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God! And second by the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders who mocked Him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! If He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.’” (Matthew 27:40)
But Jesus, “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!” Jesus would go on to confess, "I can do nothing on my own".(John 5:30) And He calls those who follow him to do the same, “If anyone would come after me, let him DENY himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” ( Matthew16:24-25)
Jesus’ answer to our control problems: Surrender. We are called to surrender but we often harden our hearts and minds at the very idea. The last thing we want to do is give up control. Many of us still live under the illusion that we are in control of our lives, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Times when we have taken control and messed up our own life is proof enough. Still, letting go of control and giving it over to someone else, even God, is a frightening prospect. Maybe it's the word "surrender" which we usually associate with defeat, humiliation, and losing. Our world never considers surrender a good thing. No one wants to lose, and no one wants to admit defeat. We are taught instead never to give up and never give in. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable.
But when we surrender to God it is a different story. To surrender means to relinquish possession or control to another. Surrendering isn’t losing or admitting defeat. It’s about victory in Jesus Christ because He calls us to surrender. It’s about becoming who we are called to be. Author and theologian C.S. Lewis was right when he said, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become- because He made us.”
How do you know when you have surrendered yourself to Jesus?
You've surrendered to God when you rely on Him to work things out instead of trying to manipulate and force your agenda to control the situation and people. You let go and let God work. You let Him be in charge. Instead of trying harder, you trust more. When faced with a difficult trial, temptation or tribulation, you don’t ask, “What am I going to do now?" Instead you ask, "Lord, what are you going to do?” You don't rely on your own abilities and resources but God’s power and His provision. You place complete faith and trust in Christ, knowing that God is in control and that no matter what you face, with “God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
You have done it your way for so many years, how about you hand over the Remote Control to God in this New Year.