Frequently I am presented with people who like to have things “their way.” They really struggle with doing things according to the plan of other people. They like to be in control, have the last word, make the decisions and manipulate the outcome to their satisfaction.

The people in their life are used to giving in and allowing the person to have it their way. Because opposites attract, controlling personalities usually gravitate towards the easy going people who are flexible and are content to allow someone else to run things.

This is a problem in a marriage or a relationship where the woman is the one who wants to be in control. Scripture tells us that we all have authorities in our lives with the ultimate authority being God.

Often people want to control God, and they want to make God do things their way. This involves bargaining with God, promising to do something or change in some way to persuade God to follow their plan. They may promise to attend church every Sunday, join the ministry, give up smoking or drinking or some other vice thinking they can bribe God into changing His mind by their offering.

This is usually done in times of fear or panic, and is commonly known as “fox hole religion.” This is done when someone is ill or in an accident and they think they will say or do anything necessary to get out of the jam they are in. When God does not perform to their expectations, the heart of selfish desires is exposed.

Typically the person becomes very angry at God for not accepting their terms and for not giving them what they want. They have had a belief that God somehow owed them and when God did not come through (in their opinion) He is now not trustworthy or good.

This reflects a lack of understanding of the character of God and the sovereignty of God. God is the sovereign God of the universe and He does what He wants with what is His.

God’s character is not good, it is perfect. He is without error or malice or sin or mistake of any kind. He is incapable of doing wrong or lies or forgetting. He is always just and He is always on time. God is truth and holiness, gracious and loving and kind. When we are denied something or someone we want it is not because God is “getting us” or is angry with us.  Our Lord sees the end from the beginning and knows the whole story. He is well aware of the desires of the human heart, and He knows what is best for us much more than we do.

This is very difficult for a controlling person to accept, and the response to this revelation is usually one of anger. The angry response reveals is pride and idolatry. Anger at God, and anger at what they cannot control. It is akin to trying to move the immovable. No matter how hard a person tries they are not going to change the mind of God. Many problems in life are the result of a desire to control people and circumstances. Living this way tends to make a person purely miserable and miserable to be around too.

Submission and surrender to the God who owns it all is the only possible response. A recognition of their humble place in the world as the created being who lives to serve the Creator, and not the other way around.