Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16(NIV)
The Bible tells us a lot about control. However it is usually referring to ‘self-control’. We answer to God regarding our actions. We are instructed to control our own behavior and not the behavior of others.
The difference between being controlled and being obedient is an act of the will. Obedience results when we willingly accept the instruction of the person we are serving. With obedience, we do what we are expected to do to meet the obligation of a contractual agreement, whether the agreement is written or spoken.
Obedience brings benefits to the person who is obedient. It may be a salary, vacation, bonus, health insurance, retirement income, etc. However when you are being controlled by another person, the benefits go to the person that is doing the controlling.
Being controlled by someone else is when you are coerced into a given behavior. Frequently we think of this as ‘being manipulated’. In Romans 6, Paul is referring to this as slavery. When someone controls our behavior, we become slaves to the person who is controlling us.
Why do people allow themselves to be controlled by others? It is usually because of fear.
For instance, in the marriage relationship, when one spouse attempts to control the other spouse, it usually results from the fear of losing the relationship. There is fear for both spouses. One spouse feels that if they do not their spouse, they will lose the marriage while the other spouse acts out of the same fear. In other words, they want the marriage to be the way they dreamed it would be and not the way their spouse dreamed it would be.
Another example is the parent that instills fear in their children by always threatening them with negative consequences every time they behave differently that the parent wants want it to be. Frequently, the parents are fearful that their children will act in a way that will cause the parents embarrassment or make them look less important than they want people to believe. The child fears the consequences of not doing what the parent wants them to do. The parents fears that people will find out that they are not as good as they want people to think. It is a fear that their deceptions will be uncovered.
Sometime we allow ourselves to be controlled because we are fearful of making a wrong decision. We do not have the confidence we need to make those decisions. We are afraid of what people will think of us if we make a mistake.
In our daily lives, we often hear about some type of bullying taking place. Bullying is a form of controlling another person’s behavior. Bullying is using a form of fear for coercing the bullied person to behave in a way acceptable to the bully. If that person failed to comply with the bully’s request, they will experience some type of pain or death.
What Paul is saying in his letter to the Romans is this: If we comply with a controller’s demands, we are a slave to that controller.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18(NIV)
If you are allowing someone to control your life you are living in fear and not in love.
“But you, Israel, my servant Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10(NIV)
God was telling Jacob not to fear because God had chosen him. God would be with him, strengthen him and help him. If you have accepted God’s gift of salvation, God has chosen you. He wants you to be filled with love, not fear. He wants you to be obedient to him and to follow him out of love.
When someone else wants you to become their slave turn your situation over to God. He will supply all of your needs and do it with love, not fear.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV)
NOTE: All scripture used in this blog has been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com