Submitting myself to the Lord, giving over control to Him has always been a constant struggle for me. A few years ago, I came across an intriguing way of looking at this in the book “The Steward Leader, ” by R. Scott Rodin.
Explained Rodin, the kingdom of God has come in the work of Christ that should in turn be evidenced in the lives of believers. Ideally, believers wholeheartedly agree that all creation belongs to God. When our lives reflect this, “the world around us is given a glimpse of the fact that all things are indeed in subjection to Christ.” (pg 51)
But we have this struggle, this tension. Despite our desire to be totally and solely committed to Jesus Christ and to give everything to him, we hold back parts of our lives from God. As we do, we build a second kingdom.
He shared about a message he offered in which he used a wooden box to hide what he claimed to be a treasure beyond all imaginable value. He said, “in that box was the one item that kings and presidents go to war over, that wealthy and powerful people spend their entire lives pursuing, and that every person in church that morning would give everything they owned to possess, if even for just a moment.”
He turned his back to the congregation, opened the box and revealed the highly coveted item–a magician’s wand.
“But this was no ordinary wand. This one magical device had the power to give to its bearer complete control over any and every area of his/her life. With it a person could control health and finances, manipulate the stock market, change the outcome of sporting events and determine the weather. The bearer could alter the behavior of others, smite his or her enemies, even the score for all the injustices in life and make things right where he or she has been wronged. The one who used the wand could get a better job, improve the behavior of his or her spouse and kids, buy a bigger house and take a vacation anywhere in the world,” Rodin explained.
“The wand represented the control we so long to have over our life. It is the desire for power, for the ability to shape things so they come out our way, to be the lord of our lives and the people and things that comprise it. We believe that if we just has more control, our life would be better, we could make things come out the way we want and guide our own destiny,” he added.
Do you see where he is going with this idea of second-kingdom building?
“It is less about our stuff than about our hearts, but it is about our stuff as well. It is the struggle between God’s kingdom and a counterfeit earthly kingdom we want to label as “ours.” It is ultimately about lordship.” (pg 53)
Think about that for a moment – a magic wand that could do anything you could imagine. I had no problem coming up with things I would use the wand for to cause life to happen my way.
But here’s what Jesus challenges we do instead of waving a wand – to pray and hand over our desire for control to God.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 6-7, NLT)
Notice how Jesus’ challenge does something to the desires relinquished to God? Instead of worrying about desires, they become a form of prayer. Instead of desires burdening us, we are thankful for them. Instead of satisfying desires, we receive a peace that exceeds anything we can understand that will also guard our hearts and minds.
Sounds pretty awesome even if the formula seems odd, right? God’s answer is to trust him to not only make the math work but to be with us in the midst of it.
“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5: 3-4)