Finding God's Winning Spirit

Adam - The First "Control Freak" (Part II)

January 5, 2015 | Greg Smith | Devotional


There have been many theological debates as to what was man’s original sin. Some say Adam’s sin was simple disobedience; while others say it was pride.  I have always said that it was “unfaith”. For some reason Adam did not trust God to be God and wanted to know everything himself. Adam’s need for control severed the faith relationship between him and his Creator. Control then became the curse of fallen man – one’s need for control is the epitome of rebellion against God.

This need to be in control immediately separated Adam from God, putting him on his own. Adam’s desire to be “the man” put him at the center of his own belief system, with everything revolving around him.  Adam’s attempt to take control is why God had to do something.  Adam could no longer worship God – he had become his own god.  

This paradoxical condition (God's image vs. fallen man) by nature pits our original desire to follow God against our fallen need to take and/or maintain personal control.  We disguise this need for control by telling ourselves that we are just being responsible or putting things in order; we are just taking charge of our lives and trying to “be meticulous”. For the “control freak” control is a badge of courage.  After all, in their minds, all Adam wanted was to have all the facts, right?

Ironically, control sets up the exact situation that we feared in the first place. By separating ourselves from God through our need for control, we limit those things that we need the most like unconditional love, acceptance and nurturing which is only complete through our relationship with God.  Whatever Adam thought he needed, or was afraid he did not have, his movement inward and away from God intensified his feelings of loneliness, shame and fear.

Adam’s self-centeredness caused the problem in the garden and is the same mistake we continually make today.   Left to our own devices we cannot achieve the true happiness, peace and joy that allow us to experience the fullness of God’s love. 

When I reject God’s providence and take the wheel myself I not only put myself in the driver’s seat of my own life, I separate myself from Him. Both outcomes are problematic when it comes to living the abundant life of John 10:10. It is faith that overcomes fear not control. “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul…” of Psalms 23 is about giving up control. “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” is about having faith in the shepherd not in ourselves

Those who choose to continue to feed their need for control as a solution to fear are rowing in the wrong direction and will only find themselves further out to sea; further from the light and surrounded by darkness – where fear lives. If both of my hands are on the wheel I am not free to hold the hand of another; if my arms are full holding all that is mine I cannot embrace my brother.

God tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).  Jesus tells us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest…., for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.… (Matthew 11:28-29).

For any Christian to say that they are a “control freak” is a contradiction of terms.  As Christian men and women our mantra should be “Let go and let God.”  This is pure faith – this is real freedom.



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