Does God Want to Control Me?

Let’s be honest: Christianity can seem like a lot of rules to follow, especially if you read the Old Testament. There are pages upon pages of guidelines that seem really impersonal and confusing. Is God trying to control our behavior?

Let’s look at it a different way.

What do you call something that is controlled by somebody else? A robot. If we were robots, we’d just automatically do whatever we were programmed to do. Robots can’t love and enjoy someone else. Robots cannot be sorry for their sins. Robots cannot choose to turn back to God.

Jesus didn’t come to earth, die and resurrect to save robots. He came to save people! People with their own stories, desires and sins. In Romans 12:1, the apostle Paul writes, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice…This is truly the way to worship Him.” Does that sound like God asking a person to be obedient or being controlled under a rigid, robotic code of behavior?

Long ago, a church leader named Saint Augustine said, “Love God and do what you please.” At first that sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Can I really be a Christian and do anything I want?

Frankly, that’s not the point. The point is when we are in a loving relationship with God and He is guiding our hearts we won’t want to sin or run away to live selfishly. With God as our first and foremost priority, we will want to live a pure life, tell others about Jesus and live humbly in community.

To love God and do what you want means the Holy Spirit within us is the one who changes our desires to match God’s desires. And when our desires match God’s desires, we will want to serve people, worship Jesus and be part of His family, the Church.

God doesn’t want to control you; He wants to transform you. Romans 2:4 says, “God’s kindness is intended to turn you from your sin.” God is not an overbearing taskmaster, who angrily forces us to do things against our will. Instead, God forgives our sins and welcomes us into His family. This means the Bible isn’t simply an instruction manual with rules you must follow. It is the story of God interacting with people, and God offering people a chance to join His story.

Jesus calls us to a life surrendered to Him, but He wants us to make that decision. He wants us to follow Him willingly. God doesn’t want a bunch of little robot followers doing His bidding because that’s all they know to do. God wants followers who love Him back, who grow into knowing Him more, who are willing to let Jesus change their hearts, minds and souls. And as we walk with Jesus our behavior will change along the way.

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