»   Are you holding tightly to the reins of your life? Or are you yielding control to the One who controls all?

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.” – Psalm 37:5-6

Saul of Tarsus is on a mission. This determined young man… steeped in the religion of his ancestors… educated under Gamaliel, the foremost teacher of Hebrew Scripture and law, recognizes a threat to the religion of his nation Israel.

Saul is a born leader. He relishes control. He spearheads a quest to purge the country of any who do not adhere to the Jewish faith. Followers of The Way, the first Christians, are seen as members of a radical sect with beliefs opposed to the nation’s religion. Saul sets out to obliterate these extremists.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” – Proverbs 3:7

Saul is surrendered to his cause… a noble cause in his eyes. Yet it is not God’s cause. He has been deceived into thinking that any opposition to the faith of his forefathers must be eliminated. He yields to his own wisdom… his own mastery over his beliefs and opinions.

God knows that if He can rein in Saul’s zealous tenacity and uncompromising commitment, He will gain a powerful influence for His kingdom and His cause. Yet Saul must surrender himself, his stubborn pursuit of his own agenda, his control over his universe, to the One who holds mastery over the entire universe. He must yield his own plans and purpose to the supreme, wise will and purpose of God.

“He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” – 2 Corinthians 5:15

God steps in mightily. Saul has a miraculous encounter with the glorified Christ. His life is forever changed. His course takes an abrupt turn, redirected according to the compass of God. Saul’s old, misguided course is abandoned at the feet of Jesus. He lets go of his old self, his old life, his old mission.

Saul had thought he was in control. Yet it was a false sense of control. For God wields all power and authority. The Lord had been at work deep in Saul’s soul and spirit… breaking down his stubborn resistance and rebellious attitude. This apostle’s bold, intrepid nature can now be used for God’s kingdom and glory.

Saul steps out with a new aim, a new purpose, a new direction… in the footsteps of the One to whom he dedicates his life, Jesus Christ. The Master of creation becomes the Master of Saul’s world. He lets Him reign supreme in his life. Saul takes on his Roman name of Paul as he embarks on his divine mission and calling to be a light to the Gentiles… spreading the gospel to new lands and new people.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Paul allows his Lord to be sovereign instead of himself. He gives up what he thought was right and trusts God’s way to be right.  He lets go of his past… his staunchly held beliefs, his old ideas of what is right… and yields to the wisdom of God.

This new apostle of Christ abandons his past and commits his present life to the Lord. He surrenders his mind, emotions and personal will to the will of God. He places his future by faith in the hands of the One who holds the future.

Paul had a desire to control… to rule sovereignly over his own life and over the people, circumstances and events in his world. Control, at its essence, is a lack of trust grounded in fear. Fear of letting loose the reins. Fear of surrendering the illusive grasp upon our world. Fear that our own or others’ lives may take a direction different from what we envision or desire. Control may bring a semblance of stability and safety. Yet it is merely an illusion. For God reigns supreme… even when we do not see His hand at work.

“Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything.”

God alone is in command of all, whether we are willing to accept it or not. The universe is under His authority, His dominion, His jurisdiction. His control is sweeping, extending from eternity past to eternity future.

When we place our absolute trust in the Lord… when we let God be God… yielding all to the Lover of our souls, our lives will be forever changed. Like Paul, we bow to the sovereignty of Christ. We welcome His divine orchestration of our lives.

Lord, Reign in us. Make us Yours alone. We surrender our minds, wills and emotions to Your will for our lives. Help us to give up our desire for control. We look not to our own, often misguided wisdom, but to Your wisdom. For You are the all-wise, omniscient One. Our past we leave in the past. Our present we surrender to You. Our future we place in your hands by faith. We let You be God of our lives. Thank You for Your sovereign rule over us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.