What if the opposite of "out of control" is "freedom"?
Why do people associate freedom with the ability to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want? Honestly, if we all think about our friends and family who live like this, they are miserable wrecks. The irony of no control and lack of self-awareness is the chains they bring to bind us to a way of living fraught with stress, anxiety, fear, troubles, and often disaster.
Opposite of Out of Control & Freedom
I took a gander at what the opposite of out of control is, and here is what I found:
Those words sound much better than a lack of control and living in a mess. Moreover, when we have discipline, are attentive to the 6 Spiritual Habits, are obedient to God's laws, and are devoted and faithful to God and His word, we are able to live in true freedom like God intended in the first place.
So, because I am a nerd who cannot help myself, I looked at what the opposite of freedom is:
Just look around at the world today. Extremism could be the label for our world. The label for a world that chooses anything but the freedom which God brings. When we live life out of control (or serve a false god), the consequences of our actions lead to extremism, captivity, difficulty, limitation, and servitude. Just think about this for a bit. It is still so ironic to me the world says serving our own selves by hoarding our time, talents, abilities, and money leads to freedom. It never does. The world's false gods take everything God stands for and turn it upside down. Every time.
Have you seen anywhere in the world where you give away stuff and more is returned to you? I have looked, and it is nowhere to be found. In fact, the world says to horde, hide, and get as much as is humanly possible. Scarcity is real and must be avoided at all costs. If it having it all really meant something, we would not see so many wealthy and famous people speak the truth that fame, money, and prestige do not bring joy or peace or fix problems.
However, God does not give as the world gives. As Christians, God calls us to be cheerful givers of all we possess. With God, we give away to see it returned to us in abundance. I do not know how it works; it is another of the mysteries of God. The world preaches scarcity and horde, God preaches give away, and I will return your gifts in abundance. Let go of your scarcity mentality and trust God's word and promises.
This is why it is so crucial to know God's word. Meditate on it and memorize it. We need more God input to replace the garbage output of the world. So find your God USB cable. If you are having trouble locating it, the label says, "6 Spiritual Habits." And we are on habit number 4, Giving Back. So, with all of this in mind, do the unthinkable and that which defies worldly reasoning and give your time, talents, abilities, and money away.
Marks of Good Giving
Recognizing everything we have is a gift from God. "You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant..." Deut. 8:17-18 (ESV)
Being responsible with ALL the gifts we are given. "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." 1 Pet. 4:10 (ESV)
Remaining trustworthy with our gifts and not misusing them. "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful." 1 Cor. 4:1-2 (ESV)
Giving the best of what we have, not the leftovers. "Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best." Prov. 3:9 (MSG)
Care for others. "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Phil. 2:4 (ESV)
Cunning. "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Boldness. See the parable of the talents. Matthew 25:14-30. The emphasis should be on taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone to build God's kingdom.
Healthy attitude toward money. "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Matt. 6:24 (ESV)
Living within your means. (Being debt free.) "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." Proverbs 22:7 (ESV) If you are struggling to manage your money, maybe you live paycheck to paycheck, or are in debt up to your eyeballs, check this resource out: Financial Freedom University. We have used it in our church to help more people overcome their money issues and live with the freedom to manage their money well and not be in debt. (Not an ad. Just passing on the good stuff.)
Simple Reasons Why We Need to Give Back
It honors God and all He has given to and done for us.
It honors us. We lead more peace-filled and abundant lives.
It honors others. So many hurting, broken people in the world need what only we can offer.
We all have been given to in our times of need. We need to pay it forward. It is the way God works.
Giving back is a way of life. It is an attitude, action, spiritual focus... all-encompassing. It should infiltrate our hearts, minds, and souls. It should release our time, talents, abilities, and money in service to God.
If you made it this far, I will be a bit more blunt to get my point across because you would have already left the page for something more tantalizing and worldly by now. Yes, some people use the word tithing, but when I do, people flip out. So, I used the more palatable word "Giving Back." So do not be confused if you have heard me say "tithing" before; I have switched to make God's word more accessible.
The world serves up piles of poo for us by making it seem palatable. Why? It works. We would not let the poo in if it did not appear appetizing. I will serve God's truths to be more palatable to people who stumble over religious words, those who seek God, and those who are struggling to live out the spiritual habits. If you face challenges sharing God's word, try doing the same.
The world has already lowered God's standards. I am not going to lower anything. Using new or different terms does not lower God's ways and goals for us; it makes them more accessible. I prefer to keep God's standards and use words that will make God's truths relevant and approachable for today. I'm in a battle, fighting the world's lies with the fire of God by my side. God said to be cunning, just following His word.
If you missed the first three blogs in this series, go back and read them as they build upon one another. Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, share posts, and comment as you see fit. If you have not signed up for my email list, please do so. I send out bi-monthly newsletters and behind-the-scenes information. Now, do what you need to do. And don't forget your God USB cable.