What if I told you you are not in charge of your life, not in charge of your actions, your choices, your decisions, your preferences and your entire way of life? That would be preposterous right? A popular poem says,
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
The captain of my soul.
(Fourth stanza of Invictus by William Ernest Henley)
I do not dispute the impression nor feeling nor the lesson the poet seeks to portray here, nor do I with an unworthy hand (in the circle of poetry), swipe away the great work of the revered Ernest Henley. But it seems there could be much more at play in our lives than can be explained on the surface. At least I believe that the one we can all agree in unison is that we do not choose the consequences of our actions. Those follow the actions we take naturally be they good or bad and unfold as the actions mature to be reaped. But our choices, are they really ours? Are we really in charge? Are we really the captains of our souls and the masters of our destinies?
Let us read a scripture:
So I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17.
In the marginal rendering of the phrase ‘so that you are not to do whatever you want, NIV renders it; so that you do not do what you want.’ That is mind blowing. The simple implication of that verse is that there are two entities engaged in a battle of who controls you. They are in a contest for who sits on a throne, and that throne is the throne of your life. And the aim of that coronation is to control your life. On the one hand is the Spirit of God, on the other is the flesh, which is a representation of the carnal man, the fallen nature under the control of the devil. (As an aside, many still believe that the flesh as used in the scripture is just your skin. It is not. It is the representation of the worldly system, of the devil. In some places the Bible calls it the old man, showing that it is a personality. And here in the scripture above, it has just been compared to the Spirit of God who is a full entity, a personality. So the flesh has all the attributes of the Spirit of God, only it is on the negative side. Never allow the devil to deceive you that it is just yourself, the flesh is more than that.) So these two competing beings seek the throne of your life so that they may control you. Whoever of the two wins that war, assumes the control of your life. You immediately become subject to him and as the scripture says there, you will no longer do what you want. You will answer to him and do what he wants.
Notice that there is no third person. There is no chance of you saying; ‘hey guys, I am tired of you two struggling over who controls my life. I’m done. I’m kicking the both of you out right now so that I can assume control of my life and drive it the way I want.’ This is what we would have wanted, but there is no option here for this one. At every point in time one or the other must be in charge, and the one in charge calls the shots. You are not to do whatever you want.
But the great deception of the ages has been that we are in charge. You are living your life and making your choices as you please and do not take orders from anyone. You need to look deeply into that conclusion again and check if it is really true. Satan has been called the great deceiver in the bible, to show that his strategy is to deceive people and get them to think that he is not the one pressing buttons behind the scene. No one is really free of masters. Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters. You can only serve one. It implies that there are two entities gunning for your service, and only one will have it at a time.
If we give man any consideration and the honour of choice, it is that his only role here is to coronate who sits on the throne of his life. He won’t call the shots, but the only power of control he has is to decide who does that. Scripture is replete with examples of this. Moses said to the children of Israel, I make the proposition of life and death to you, choose the one you want, and that’s all you can do. Jesus said, there are two ways, a broad one and a narrow one. You can choose the one you wish for. In the scripture we are considering above, our power is to decide who becomes the king of our heart. Whichever way it goes, we will not do what we want. But to decide who begins to decide what we do is our own choice to make. This is akin to relinquishing your rights to a sovereign, who subsequently directs your entire life after the transfer is done. Man must be owned and controlled at all time. Who controls him he can choose. But controlled he must be.
This was why God asked Adam, who told you you were naked? God knew that that decision didn’t come from Him as the regent of Adam’s life. And He knew it didn’t come from Adam either, because at every point, man may not do what he wants, but what the one in charge wants. He knew that man had changed government. An interesting scripture is in Ephesians 2:1-2. There the Bible says that those who live in the world are influenced (controlled) by the prince of the power of the air and that that spirit is constantly at work in those who live in disobedience to God. They wake up and move and do what ‘they like’, but is it indeed what they like or is there a power in the heavenly places who moves them to do those thing, hiding behind the scenes? Man loves to be in charge, and as long as the devil makes him think that he is the one in charge, he would continue to revel in that. In Romans 6:16 the bible says that whoever you submit to obey (of these two seeking governance of your life), you will become his slave. This was why Jesus looked at grown up men driving nails through His body and said that they do not know what they were doing. He knew the wrong spirit was in charge and bidding them do it.
So when people lose their temper, there is a resident boss urging them to do that. They are not doing what they really want. When one is addicted to extramarital sexual escapades and argues that he is ‘is leaving his/her life as he wants’, it is only ignorance that makes them think that way. When one takes what is not his own, when he fights at any provocation, when he tells lies with ease, when he ‘decides’ to be wicked, there is one in charge making these choices. Conversely when one is always cheerful, there is a resident boss whose disposition is cheerfulness in charge of his/her life. When one loves like Jesus, when one is generous, when one ‘decides’ to be chaste, when one is forgiving and content etc etc, there is a king in charge. This is why Christianity is not a religion of choosing which attributes you can acquire and those you cannot. All the fruits of the spirit are not to be learnt. They germinate when the spirit of God takes charge of your life. When you give Him permission and He wins the conflict and becomes the Lord of your life, He comes with his operating system and takes charge. Whichever attribute is required in life comes up naturally without you going to learn them specially. However if it is Mr. Flesh, he also comes with his OS and you will naturally exhibit his attributes; sudden outbursts, moodiness, bitterness, hatred etc.
So I encourage you my brother, my sister to now exercise that only control you have, by allowing the spirit of God to be the one to take control of your life. Since you are not really in charge, how about if you elect the best guy for the job to be king over your life so that you will be sure of 100% good leadership? The simple way to enthrone the Spirit of God in your life is to accept Jesus into your life. He simply sends His Spirit as the regent to lead that life. If however you are already born again, know that you may have made that decision but have not really relinquished rulership to the Spirit of God. Remember we usually pray that Jesus will come and become our savior and lord. The lordship part is deliberately done, at a conscious level beyond the day of prayer of repentance. You will have to access your life and find out who is in charge. If the Spirit of God is not (will be evident by the kind of fruits you see in your life), then invite Him to come and be your Lord and then consciously begin to learn the skills of His kingdom by enrolling in discipleship(studying the life of Jesus and imitating it completely).
People will go to hell, not because of what they did, but because of who is in charge of their lives. Vote the right man in today.
P.S I would like your feedback on this article. Leave your thought in the comment section. Thank you.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Gal. 5:16-17; Mathew 6:24; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Mathew 7:13-14; Ephesians 2:1-2