Part 3 – This is our final post on Scripture Therapy for new believers (you can still read Part 1 and Part 2). We’ve talked about freedom and the importance of not controlling others. Now we’ll talk about something Christians from all backgrounds often struggle with—being controlled by others.
Growing Up Controlled
Were you raised in a family where dad was the boss and his word was the only word that mattered? Or perhaps your mom parented by guilt, always controlling you by the suggestion that your actions could damage her beyond repair? Did you have a ‘friend’ who mocked you or gave you the silent treatment whenever you didn’t go along with them? These are all examples of external control.
External control happens when one person controls what another person does. It’s not always done with malicious intent—some people really think they’re being helpful! But it’s not God’s plan for us.
Don’t Let Others ‘Should’ On You
God has a plan for you that is specific, personal, and exclusive!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
It’s great to get advice from others, and as a new Christian, you’ll probably have lots of questions for other Christians. Sometimes they’ll give you answers that really fit with where you’re at, other times they may tell you things in order to control you and your choices. Watch out when you hear “You should…”. If this lines up with the Bible, great! But if not, it may not be right for you.
When Prayer Goes Wrong
We’re all human! And we tend to do very human things, even when we’re praying with and for others. Have you experienced praying out loud with others yet? It’s quite the experience! The Bible tells us that:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 (NIV)
When we pray, God hears! But when we pray in a group… everyone hears, and sometimes that time is used by the people praying to ‘instruct’ others about what they should do, all under the guise of ‘asking’ God for help.
Just because someone has prayed for something doesn’t mean that it’s God’s will. We can trust God to act according to what’s good, true, and within His plan, and while He answers every prayer, He doesn’t always answer in the way we expect. If you feel like someone’s prayer is influencing you, just ask the Holy Spirit to show you what’s right.
God Wants You to Choose
God has given you the free will to choose how you will live each day. You get to choose your thoughts, your words, and your actions. God wants you to choose to follow Him, and be free from things that aren’t good for you:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Your Christian walk will be a little bit different from everyone else’s because you’re a little bit different than everyone else! This is fantastic, because when we’re all following God’s calling in our life, we become part of a large, effective body of Christ.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently, if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
You do whatever is right for you. And if you’re not sure yet what you’re called to do, that’s OK! A big part of Scripture Therapy is identifying the needs and wants that God has placed within you, learning what your life goals are, and taking action to fulfil them in your life. It’s an exciting journey and we look forward to walking it alongside you!