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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Stop Controlling That (Why Your Illusion of Control Isn't Working)

Craig Groeschel - Stop Controlling That (Why Your Illusion of Control Isn't Working)

Craig Groeschel - Stop Controlling That (Why Your Illusion of Control Isn't Working)
Craig Groeschel - Stop Controlling That (Why Your Illusion of Control Isn't Working)
TOPICS: Been There, Easter

I wonder how many of you have some area of your life that you're always trying to control? Would you raise your hand right now? Some area of your life you're always trying to control. Now, if you find yourself trying to raise the hand of the person sitting next to you. I want you to know I'm talking directly to you. I'm coming for you today, because most of us, we have some area of life that we like to control. Now if you really like to control, you don't like to admit that you like to control it, 'cause you like to be in control of other people's opinion of you. And so you'll say, I'm not controlling. And then you'll say things like, I'm just aggressively helpful. Or I'm just thoroughly organized.

Now listen, you are so controlling, you make coffee nervous. I just wanna say it right now. And you can see it on Easter weekend, because you get everything the way you want it. You know we're gonna go to Easter church, and you're gonna look perfect and we're gonna have matching outfits. And whenever you hunt for eggs, you're gonna just be so cute so we can get the picture and then we end up running late for church. And so we tell you to shut up, get in the car, we're gonna worship Jesus and you're gonna love it. All for the glory of God. You can be controlling. Some of you may have been there. What I want you to do for a moment is, I want you to think about what you try to control the most.

If there's anything in your life that you try to control, what is it? For you it might be your schedule. We're gonna do this at this time, and nobody's getting in the way of my schedule. Somebody just elbowed the person sitting next to them. No elbowing in this sermon. Okay? For some of you it might be your money. We're gonna pay this off or have this much, and this is what we're gonna do. For some of you, you're literally trying to control people in your life. I'm gonna control 'em and make 'em get in line. I'm gonna control my kids. Some of you, you're trying to control people's opinions of you. You spend all time trying to sow the image. Your house looks a certain way. Your Instagram page looks this way. I want to control what you think of me. Others of you, it might just be your environment. Everything has a place and an order. And if you come into my house, you better take your shoes off. And don't even breathe in certain rooms of the house. Because you're trying to be in control of something.

Now what I want to tell you, may be a little bit difficult for you to hear, but I want you to hear it. Your need to control. It might show one of your biggest areas of spiritual vulnerability. Because what you attempt to control the most, often reveals where you trust God the least. Let me say it again, 'cause I'm coming for you this Easter weekend. Whatever it is that you try to control the most, it often reveals where you trust God the least. Because when you don't trust God in some area of your life, what do you do? You try to control that area. But when that area is out of control, the more you can't control it, the more you try to control it. But the more you try to control it, you actually trust God even less than you did before.

And so today what I wanna do is I wanna look at God's Word, and show you how Jesus, just like you, could have been tempted to control. But Jesus chose surrender over control. We're gonna be in Matthew's gospel, Matthew Chapter 26, and the context, this was after the last supper. And Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. And scripture tells us this in the Bible. Matthew 26, verse 36. "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane". The place of the crushing. "And he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.'" He was about to go to the cross, and he knew it was coming. So he spent the entire night praying to his father in heaven. Scripture says this, "He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled".

The Bible goes on to say, "Then he said to them". And I want you to notice this he said, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death". In other words, there is no stronger way that he could have communicated the angst, the emotion, the agony, the weight of knowing what he was about to endure. My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. I don't know if I can even take it. And he says, "Stay here and keep watch with me". The next verse says this, "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and he prayed". And I love the honesty. "My Father, if it's possible, may this cup be taken away from me".

So often when we read about Jesus, we think, oh Jesus, the son of God. Jesus was the son of God. He was all God. And at the same time, he was all man. Meaning he hurt physically, he had physical needs. He, emotionally he would be hurt. And he's praying, God if there's any other way. Like this is not what I want, this is not good for me. This is gonna gonna hurt me. God if there's any other way at all, please remove this cup of suffering from me. My soul is overwhelmed to a point of death. And then he says, "May this cup be taken away from me. Yet not as I will father, but as you will". "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping". I gave you one job, stay awake. And you fell asleep while I was praying.

Now, I don't wanna be too hard on them. I may have fallen asleep once or twice when Amy was praying. Probably wasn't because she was praying too long. Probably because her prayer was so spiritual that I was lulled into a state of glory and just, or may have been, she was praying too long. I've fallen asleep when I've been praying. I used to always do that as a kid. Anybody ever fall asleep when you're praying? I would get bored praying. I think God would get bored when I was praying. Like come on, get... and I would fall asleep. And then I'd feel horrible 'cause I thought God would send me to hell 'cause I didn't say amen at the end of my prayers. I didn't sign off, Amen. 10-4 I'm done. In Jesus name.

And so I would actually pray to God extra amen's like here's an extra amen and another one, amen. And another one, amen. And then I would ask him to multiply them, times Amen. Amen. Amen. That's three times three is nine, times Amen, Amen. That's 27, times. And I can't do 27 times three, but somebody can. And so I would multiply these until there are probably thousands of amen's stored up in spiritual places that I could draw upon if I ever fell asleep. So if you ever fall asleep and forget to say amen, you can take one of mine stored up for you, that's my gift to you through there. Disciples fell asleep praying. And, "Jesus went away a second time". Sometimes surrendering takes more than one attempt. And he prayed, "My Father, if it's not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done".

With absolute certainty, Jesus trusted his Father God. And he chose surrender over control, which is not the cultural norm, is it? Because every part of culture teaches us, take control. You take charge, you make it happen. You control your destiny. And that's why I wanna tell you today that you don't always have the power to control, but you always have the power to surrender. You can't control everything, but you can trust whatever is on your mind to our Father. Yes.

So I have a question for you. I want you to think about this. And it's a little bit more complicated than you might first think. I'm curious, don't raise your hand, but how many of you would rather have your will or God's will? What do you think? Would you rather have what you want or what God wants? And a lot of you spiritual people go, I want what God wants. Do you really? Because sometimes I don't. Like, I want what God wants until tell us different than what I want. Then I want what I want, right? Don't be so spiritual. I'd be like, you know, God I want your will, but just don't make me be a missionary to Africa. All right? God, I want your will, but don't make me marry someone unattractive.

Can we say that on an Easter weekend? You're not laughing, but you may feel that way at some point in your life. Don't make me marry someone I don't like that much. All right? Because most of us, we wanna believe that whenever we surrender our lives to Jesus, whenever we trust God, that he's gonna give us a happy and a healthy and a comfortable and a trouble free life. That's what so many people believe today. But Jesus doesn't invite us to a life of comfort and ease, but to a life of sacrifice and surrender. Amen.

So I ask you the question, and I want you to think about it. What are you trying to control that God wants you to surrender? What are you trying to control that God wants you to surrender? And I'm gonna make it a little bit complicated on you 'cause I haven't seen a lot of you in a while. So I might as well work this as hard as I can. There's a card that will be either in the seatbacks in front of or on your seat, somewhere around there. I want you to grab that card if you will. Everybody grab the card, if you can grab the card, grab the card, grab the card, grab the card, grab the card, grab the card. Those of you online, I've got a plan for you. So just hang with me. Grab the card. Grab the card, grab the card. And there'll be a little pen. What I want you to do, if you don't mind, is write your name, your first name only, somewhere on the card, just your first name.

And then I want you to write, don't get real specific. Keep it kind of vague. Because at the end of the service, I'm gonna invite you, if you're comfortable, to give your card to someone else. And to have someone else pray for you this week. And some of you are just freaking out right now, going, no, no, no, no, no. Because what you attempt to control the most might reveal where you trust God the least. What are you trying to control? And I want you to write it on your card. Think about it. Is it a a relationship? Is it something that's going on with a child? Is it a health issue? Is it something that you're afraid of? Is it something that's giving you anxiety? Is it your future? Somebody's gonna go, I'm not doing that. You're not the boss of me. Maybe you need to write that down on your card. What is it that you're trying to control that God wants you to surrender?

Now once you get that done, those of you online, you can just type it in the comment section if you like. I'm trying to control this. I'm trying to control my child. I'm trying to control my future. I'm trying to control my job situation, whatever it is. And to be really, really clear when you're thinking about it, I just wanna tell you that there are some things that you do want to be involved in. And that's why there's three questions I always ask myself when I'm tempted to take control. Let me show you the questions I ask. We'll say 'em aloud. I always ask, is it worth my concern? Second question I ask, is it mine to control? Third question, is it for God alone? Let's all ask these aloud, all of our campuses, it is no fun without you. Let's say, is it worth my concern, is it mine to control, or is it for God alone?

The first thing is, some of us were simply trying to control something that really isn't a big deal at all. Come on now. And you all have that kind of thing. For Amy, if I can confess her sins. It's the dishwasher. I am not allowed to load the dishwasher, because she has a master plan of which I never get right. I'm not allowed to unload the dishwasher, because I never put everything in the exact right place. It used to offend me. Now it's a praise report. For me it's vacuuming. I like the line straight, just like in the yard. Amy has this creative artistic thing that I'm trying to get her delivered from. See some of us, we have these stupid things that we're trying to control that don't matter that much. And sometimes you have to ask yourself, is this really worth my concern? No, it's not.

Second question is, is it mine to control? Because sometimes, there is something you need to do about it. In other words, like you do need to pay your electric bill if you want air conditioning in the summer. Or if you're spending more, you have more expenses than your income, you might need to cut back or take on a second job or something. There may be some things you need to do. Like, you know, you really wanna get married, you might need to join a life group. Or take a bath. Or take a bath, I don't know what it would be. You know, shave, put some, spray something on you, whatever, whatever.

The third question, is it worth my concern, is it mine to control, or is it for God alone? And there are times when you have to recognize this is really God's. It's God's. I can't change my spouse, but God can. So I trust my spouse to God. I can't heal my body, but God can. So I'm gonna surrender this to him. I can't control my children. I'm praying that God would do. I can't control the future. I'm surrendering this to God. And that's why I love with all my heart, Proverb Chapter 3, Verses 5 and 6, when scripture says to trust in the Lord with how much of your heart? Scripture says, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart". Because there's no such thing as partial surrender to God. Well, I'm about 63.9% surrendered to the Lord. No, no, no, no, no. Some of us will surrender like our salvation and trust him with that. But we're not gonna trust him with the tithe. Watch out. Or I'm gonna trust God to answer your prayers, but I don't think he'll ever answer my prayers.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him or acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight". That the word in the Hebrew, in all your ways, submit or acknowledge. That's the word yada. And the best translation of that word, it means to know. Like in all your ways, know God. Know him and he'll make your paths straight. So when you think about Jesus in the garden, at any moment he could have taken control. He coulda taken control, but he said, not my will. And when he prayed that, the guards showed up to arrest him.

And Peter, if you know the story, took control. Peter took a sword out and said, not today, Roman soldiers. And cut their ear off. One guy's ear off. And Jesus like Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter. Where's that guy's ear? Can someone find his ear? Hey, in the bushes, here's his ear. And Jesus put it on and said, be healed in my own name. And Jesus healed his ear, and he said, Peter, we're not gonna do it that way, because Peter, I could have called legions of angels and taken everybody out. But I chose surrender to my father, instead of control.

So everything went perfectly right for Jesus, because he surrendered to the Father, right? Not even close. He was arrested and beaten mercilessly until he didn't even look like a human being. Whipped 39 times across his back until his internal organs likely would've been exposed. They put a crown of thorn on his brows, and drove stakes through his wrists and through his feet. And the sinless son of God, the lamb of God, hung naked on a cross while the creation cursed the creator. And with every bit of love in his heart, he looked up to heaven and prayed, please father. Forgive them, because they don't even know what they're doing. And said, "It's finished. I did everything that you sent me to do". And the ultimate cry of surrender, he prayed into your hands, "I commit my spirit". And he breathes his last. And the earth went dark and shook. Jesus chose surrender.

And the story didn't end there, because three days later when the women went to check on the tomb, by the power, the glory of God, the stone was rolled away. The tomb was completely empty. The son of God was not there. He was risen from the dead, defeating death, hell, and the grave. The son of God became sin for us and died in our place and rose from the dead so that anyone, listen to me. Anyone, any one of you, no matter what you've done, no matter how broken you are, no matter how God, far off from God you feel. No matter what you said, no matter who you hurt, no matter how full of sin and brokenness your life is even to this day, if you call on him, the son of God, the risen savior, he hears your prayers. He forgives your sins, he makes you brand new. You don't always have the power to control, but you always have the power to surrender. Always have the power to surrender.

Warren, could you bring me my kneeler? And I want to show you what Jesus said in scripture. Jesus said this, he said in Matthew 10:39, he said, "If you clinging to your life". If you try to control it, if you always try to be in charge. "If you cling to your life, you will lose it. But if you give your life up for me, you will find it". In other words, surrender isn't just a one-time decision, but it's a daily choice to follow Jesus. To really follow him is to surrender control.

So what are you trying to control that God wants you to surrender? If you ask me what is it that I'm gonna surrender? I'm gonna surrender you. Because my heart is so heavy, and I have prayed so much, nonstop for you. For 35 minutes I get a shot at you, to help you experience the goodness and the grace and the power of our good God. I surrender you, because I can't convince you. And I can feel the pain of what so many of you are facing right now. I mean I can like feel it. It's so difficult out there. And what freaks me out is that there are literally thousands of you that weren't here last week and you won't be here next week. And you're okay with that. It tells me you don't know what you're missing. I dunno how you do it? I don't know if you know him like I know him. How do you not praise him? How do you not gather? How do you not need the people of God? And when I joke about Christmas and Easter, I joke about 'cause that was me growing up. That was me. I mean we were there Christmas, we were there Easter. That was me.

Now I had enough head knowledge to think that I was a Christian, but not enough of Jesus to really change me. And that's why I surrender you. Because I'm afraid that some of you, you are 20 inches away from having your life changed, 20 inches. You got a little bit in your head, but you are 20 inches away from knowing Jesus in your heart. Because when you know him, you just have to praise him. And you have to be with him, and you have to be with his people. You just can't not, because he's that good.

So I invite you to surrender. I invite you to surrender all. And when you surrender all, it doesn't mean a happy, perfect life. Jesus invites us to a life of surrender and sacrifice. And I want you to know him, to know him. How do you know him? If you feel alone, you can know Jesus as your friend. If you're battling depression, you can know Jesus as your peace. If you're financially uneasy, you can know him as your Jehovah-jireh. He is your provider. That's who he is. If you're sick, He's your Jehovah Rapha. He's your healer. Know him as your healer. And if you've messed up and if you've sinned and if you've fallen short and if you're broken and if you hurt people like I've hurt people and done things you're ashamed of, you can know him as you're savior. Just know him, know him, know him, know him. When you get to know him, who is he? Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. He's the one who restores your soul.

Surrender to him. Surrender to the light of the world, because darkness shall never overcome the light. Surrender to the bread of life, the living water. When you surrender to him, you'll never hunger and you'll never thirst again. He is that good. He is present and he loves you. When you surrender to him, you surrender to the rock and the shield and the fortress. He is your ever present help in time of trouble. He is the lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world, and he's the lion of Judah who rules forevermore. He is the king of all kings. And he is the Lord of all lords. And he understands all of your weaknesses and he was tempted in every way you are. But he did not sin. Therefore, you can come boldly before his throne of grace to find help in your time of need. Somebody may wanna stand up.

Somebody may wanna worship him today. Somebody may want to stand up at all of our campuses today and give him some praise and maybe lift up your hands to the one who loves you so much that while you were still sinning, he gave his life for you. And our God raised Jesus from the dead so that anyone who calls on his name, your name would be written in the lamb's book of life. Your sins would be forgiven and you would be made new. Maybe surrender to him now. What do you... Sing it loud, "I surrender". Sing it loud. Raise your voices. Raise your hearts, raise your hands. I surrender all, tell him you surrender. What do you surrender to him? Surrender a fear that's held you hostage.

Surrender your anxiety to him. Ask him to heal your depression. Call on him and ask him for a miracle in your marriage. Surrender that child that weighs on your heart. Give it all to God. Lift your voice, surrender today. You don't always have the power to control, but you always can surrender. Tell him you surrender. Trust him today. Cast your cares upon him because he cares for you. As you continue in an attitude of prayer today:

Father, we ask that by the power of your Holy Spirit, you would do a work as we surrender to you the king of all kings and the Lord of all lords.

As you're standing in an attitude of prayer today, I wonder how many of you would say there's something that you're trying to control, and by faith today you're ready to surrender it. Would you lift up your hands right now? Just lift them up. Online you can say, I'm ready to surrender. You can even say what it is today.

Father, we pray. We pray in this moment, just as Jesus knelt in the garden and said, this isn't what I want, but I trust you God. Your will be done. With all of our hearts God, we trust you. With what we cannot control, we trust you. We surrender, we surrender, we surrender. Heavenly Father work in a release and a peace that goes beyond all human understanding, that would guard our hearts and our minds and our souls in Christ Jesus.

As you keep praying today, everybody remain standing, nobody looking around. There are those of you today, that you're about to have a 20 inch miracle. You may know about him, you may have heard about him, but you don't know him personally. Who is he? He is the son of God. For God so loved you that he sent his one and only son Jesus. That he became flesh for us, and Jesus didn't come for the righteous one. He came for the broken ones and the sinners. He didn't come for those who were healthy and perfect. He came for those who were sick and in need. And he gave his life and God raised him from the dead so that anybody who calls on his name would be forgiven, would be changed. You don't know about him, but you're about to know him.

What do you do? You step away from your old life and you just surrender. You don't know how to pray. You don't even know what to do. You don't clean up your life first. You just come to him. You come to him as you are. Scripture says, "Jesus said, 'I stand in the door and I knock. If anyone lets me in, I will come in.'" He's about to come in. You just let him in. Just say, I surrender. I need your forgiveness. I wanna know you. I just trust you. Wherever you are, you know you've sinned. You know you need forgiveness. You know you're in darkness. You know you need the light. You want him. It's not a head knowledge. It's a heart relationship.

Today, by faith, what do we do? We surrender today by faith. Those of you that say, I know I need him, I surrender. That's your prayer. Lift your hands high right now. All over the place. Lift 'em up and say, yes. Praise God for you guys are here, over here. Lift 'em up high. Lift 'em up high. Oh, come on, sir. Somebody oughta worship God today. Those of you online, just type in the comment section. I'm giving my life to Jesus right up here. Lift 'em up high right here. Praise God for you guys. All hands going up all over the place. We celebrate, we celebrate. We celebrate. Would you all pray wherever you are. Just pray aloud right now. Pray:

Heavenly Father, forgive my sins. Jesus, I surrender. I trust you to save me. I trust you to forgive me. Fill me with your Spirit, so I could know you, and serve you, and follow you, and live for you. My life is not my own. I give it all to you. Use me to share your love. Thank you for new life. I give you mine. In Jesus name I pray.

Somebody better worship God right now. Somebody better thank God. Give him praise for who he is. He is the king of kings. He is the Lord of lords. Give him praise today. Lift up your voices and say thank you, Jesus, for who you are and for what you've done.
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