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Who Controls You?

“Father God, thank you today for Your Word. We ask You to manifest Yourself in our midst today through way of the Holy Spirit to teach through all who will yield themselves to You. Be with us. Thank You, Father God - in Jesus we pray. Amen”

Reading thru Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, in order to understand what he is saying, we must see that everything after Ephesians 4:22-24 hinges on what is said that…that happened when we were saved.

“that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

He tells us that the old person we were before Jesus saved us, the person who depended wholly on the flesh for survival and protection…died and was replaced by a new creation - a completely alive spiritual person. And this new creation is designed to depend on God for protection and provision, which is typified by us, walking in the Spirit.

We see in Ephesians 5:18 that we are to place ourselves under the control of God

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” (18)

Paul used the image of drunkenness, which is basically the placing of ourselves under the control of something created (alcohol) and the result is dissipation. Dissipation = a frittering away….waste…scattering to the point of uselessness. Paul contrasts this being controlled by a manmade thing that scatters us with the idea of being filled with something else: the Spirit (not something created...rather, the Creator Himself in spirit form)

I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that we have access to the ability to be filled or controlled by the Spirit immediately upon being saved.

“Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

When we received that gift...that gift IS the Holy Spirit. I also believe that the Bible clearly teaches that we have an ongoing need to give control of ourselves to that Holy Spirit and the reason for this is that we do not instinctively do so.

Hence, many scriptural references in Acts to people who HAVE the Holy Spirit...being filled by (giving themselves over to the control of) the Spirit...over and over.

So, in Ephesians 5 when Paul speaks of alcohol and contrasts it to being filled with the Holy Spirit, we are told to be filled with (controlled by) the Creator rather than wine (a created thing). I believe that we can generalize that to any created thing including other people....and ourselves.


“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18)

Paul follows this with some examples of what it looks like when a person does that:

“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:19)

We find ourselves preaching, if you will, speaking in several ways: in psalms.....spiritual ideas set to new song, in hymns - spiritual ideas that are set to established tunes and in spiritual songs, literally "oide pneumatikos" or spirit songs...which many people believe is singing in tongues or, as Paul puts it in 2 the tongues of angel. So, singing praise to and about God is one result of yielding control of ourselves to the Creator.

Here is another:

“giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:20)

As opposed to having some church leader berate us for not being thankful enough, and then responding by making ourselves be thankful (IS THAT REALLY TRUE THANKFULNESS?), we find ourselves instinctively thanking the Lord for all things...good and bad...that happen to us.

That just ain't normal – or I should say, it’s not natural….its the effect that a supernatural Being has on someone. So...that is another result of yielding control of ourselves to the Creator: spontaneous and heartfelt thanks to God for all things.

Here is another:

“submitting to one another in the fear (or in awe) of God.” (Ephesians 5:21)

In light of God's power and His inclination to meet our needs personally, we, when controlled by the Creator...moment by moment....have the confidence to put aside our own hunger pangs for having our basic physical and emotional needs met. Instead of scrambling to “get ours” first, we submit ourselves to one another - seeking the best of others before getting ours.

Can you see how it all goes back to Ephesians 5:18? This, in turn, goes back to Ephesians 4:22-24.

The next thing Paul does is begin to apply these principles to common relationships in life. The first it is applied to is the marital relationship in Ephesians 5:22-31 with wives and husbands submitting to Jesus through one another in respecting and loving their husband and wife.

Next we see this life-giving principle applied to the parent/child relationship (Ephesians 6:1-4) and then the boss/worker relationship which, in the text, is put in terms of slaves and masters. Somewhere between 80 and 90% of all people in the Roman Empire were slaves at some time in their lives. (See how good OUR lives are?) One could be forced into slavery by being captured in war, sold by another slave owner, or seized for unpaid debts or you could be a bond servant...selling your self for some length of time.

When I worked in the oil business (before I was saved and then for a while as a young Christian) my focus was to stay out of trouble.

Everything I did, it seems, at work...was to either not get caught doing things wrong or to make sure they saw me doing things right.

I lived my life at work as if it was a barter system: I gave myself (my time and energy) and they gave me money.

I worked FOR THEM and, thus, I gave control of myself to some impersonal corporation personified in corporate people and they governed me by their flesh. I was their slave. As a minister, I can still work that way if I want and I would be a slave to people who donate to support my work. It wouldn’t be very different, would it?

Many of us live this way…a slave to our bills, our finances, our work. There is a way, however, we can do the same tasks in an entirely different manner:

“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ” (Ephesians 6:5)

The fear and trembling part does not refer to how we are to respond to the people for whom we work. See what Paul says here.... “be obedient to the bosses in this world” but respond “as to Christ”. The attitude is to be “in sincerity of heart” - it literally means “with singleness of heart...not self seeking”.

“not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,” (Ephesians 6:6)

We are not to live the way I used to work for the oil company, with eye service - as a man pleaser. I was giving those guys too much power in my life...(especially after becoming a child of God). “eye service” means that i would behave so long as they could see me. Instead, I am to approach this in a completely different way: as a bondservant of Christ.

Why? Well, this is because the new creation that you are IS a bondservant of Christ; therefore, this idea is reality based. This is applying a biblical reality to our everyday life.

“not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,” (Ephesians 6:6)

“doing the will of God” literally means "living out the will of God" and how?

“from the heart” - being obedient. That, plus...its an attitude - not because we HAVE TO but because we CAN or...i like to think of it like this: not because we HAVE TO but as a celebration, an attitude of thankfulness, joyful and rejoicing - and not obligatory.

In the meantime, off on the side, in a way….we have confidence that we will get what we need:

“knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” (Ephesians 6:8)

In other words by serving God and not man, the reward is the same...whether or not we are slaves. So, that leads us to the question: “What is that reward?”

I believe that there is always a payoff and that when we live working for God and not man the payoff is fellowship with God and growth in Christ and increased faith and on and on. Good stuff!

I've been in “fulltime ministry” a while now and have seen a lot - in other people and in my own self. One theme I see over and over is that people give power over themselves to other people. People take jobs and leave God out of the mix and, therefore, work FOR people and not for God.

People marry people and leave God out of the mix or, often simply do not live the Spirit filled life in that marriage and depend on mere bless them in those marriages.

People give power away all the time. I say: give it to Someone (Jesus) Who can handle it. I say: give it to Someone (Jesus) Who is truly self sufficient and Who doesn't really need anything from us. I say: give it to Someone (Jesus) Who really does love us with no strings attached and Who has a track record for doing so. I say: give it to Someone (Jesus) Who really does have our best in mind.

I can walk in the Spirit in the ministry I do....depending upon God to meet my needs....for finances, for example through people and I'll be free of the people...and totally dependent upon Him. If the money doesn't come, I'll have no resentment toward people because I didn't depend upon them in the first place.

“my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

He WILL meet my needs. He will meet YOURS too, if you let him.

You can walk in the Spirit in YOUR life too… depending upon God to meet YOUR needs.

When I write a thank you letter to someone for donating, I am really thanking God for prompting the person to give and thanking the person for hearing and obeying Him. By the same token, what would our lives be like if we took stock of all the relationships in which we find ourselves and functioned in the Spirit?

If we lived this way every relationship the Lord He would have us in would be wonderful, each one a gift and we would be free to enjoy them. However, but if we give power to all those people each one of them has the right to make our lives miserable as they exercise the power WE HAVE GIVEN them the way people who are not Jesus - the way fallible beings - yield power.

Can we see the power of moving in relationships controlled only by the Lord? In Ephesians Paul goes on:

“And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” (Ephesians 6:9)

If I do all I do as unto the can people really ever have power over me? If YOU do all YOU do as unto the Lord - how can people really ever have power over YOU?

It’s something to ponder.

I would like to close with a prayer offered by a friend of mine when

I shared these ideas with him”:

“Father God, You never cease to amaze me. You are exalted. You are lifted up. You are on high forevermore. You are in control and Your eternal purpose is being fulfilled right here. I thank You, Father, for Your incredible imagination. I thank You for Your workmanship. The universe does indeed declare Your majesty

Most of all, I thank You for Jesus, that in Your infinite wisdom You have set this up to hinge on You….upon our depending on You and not on our own performance that by the awesomeness of the sacrifice of Christ You have forever perfected us who are being sanctified. You are so good. There is none like You. May we seek to be empowered new each day by Your Spirit, renewed and filled again. May we fall deeper and further in love with You as we surrender more and more to You. In the incredible name of Jesus, Amen.”

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries

Decatur, TX

© August 13, 2005

(For use with permission)

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