Our Control Over God

We normally think of God having control over us, but there is a sense in which we have control over Him.  Please allow me to explain.

In the book of Joel we read of God bringing a great destruction against the kingdom of Judah.  The end of 2:11 says, “For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?”  Yet the end of :13 says, “For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”  Why the great difference in the two verses referring to God?  The action of the people.  In :11 Joel is addressing those who are disobedient to God, while in :13-14 he is addressing God’s reaction if they become obedient to Him.  If the nation will “turn to (God)...rend (their) heart...and...return to the Lord...,” then “who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him?”  The people’s response controls God’s response.

In Romans 11:22 Paul wrote to “consider the goodness and severity of God.”  Who controls with which God will respond to us?  We do.  “On those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”  If we fall short of God’s word, then we bring His severity upon us.  If we continue in His word, then we bring His goodness upon us.  We control which we receive from Him by the way we choose to live our lives.

In the same book Paul also wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23).  Who controls whether God gives us death or life for all eternity?  We do.  When we sin, we earn death as payment for our sin.  When we enter into and remain in Christ, we receive the gift of eternal life.  We control which one we receive from God.

Please do not be deceived by this way we have control over God.  It does not mean that we can do whatever we so choose and still expect him to save us.  He is still the creator and ruler of all.  His thoughts and ways are still higher than ours (Isa 55:8-9).  Living the way we want will still lead us to death (Prov 14:12).  The control we have simply translates into personal responsibility for our eternal destiny.

God has laid down the law.  He has told us what we must do to control how He responds to us on the day of judgment.  What are you going to choose?  Are you going to choose to live in such a way as to force Him to condemn you?  That is not what He wants to have to do (2 Pet 3:9), but He has given you that control.  Or are you going to choose to live in such a way as to receive the gift of eternal life from Him?  Remember, He has given you the control.