As I continue to get older (and older) I have come to the realization that most older people (those that learn from their lives and continue to learn) have a wealth of knowledge if we could just take the time to engage them and chat with them and build relationship with them. A dear old friend of mine used to say to me that there is only two things in life that we can control and that is: 1) Our attitudes and 2) how we handle the situation that God brings to us.
This brings me to my top 10 list of things that you can’t control:
- Those around us – We cannot force our will on others nor control them for the outlook that we want
- The way that God made us – Each of us have been faithfully and wonderfully made. God loves us all and has made each one of us unique in our own special ways
- Our family – We get to choose our friends (not our family) but God calls us to love our family and to show them the love of Christ
- Those who we work with and work for – (obviously if you are a boss, or company owner you have influence) if you yield to scripture and follow its teaching, whether you are an owner, a peon or somewhere in the middle or upper middle, you cannot control those around you nor the situations that they present you with
- The choices we have made (in the past) – we are accountable to decisions and actions that we have taken and we cannot control the outcome of those decisions if we made decisions that are contrary to God’s will for our lives
- The consequences of our past – God’s way brings the abundant life, the world’s way brings consequences to sin (as for me and my house we will choose to serve the Lord)
- What other people know that we don’t – unless they want to share with us, we cannot control what they want to share or don’t want to share
- What the future will bring (or won’t) – Read Roman’s 8 (God is in control)
- What others think of us – Who is your identity in? The world or in Christ?
- Whether or not others like us (or want to love us) – this is huge, because this impacts #1 through #9 and how we are around others. If you have lived long enough on this earth you will find that not everyone will like you (people are different) and you will find that some may even hate you. Is your identity in them or in Christ?
What we can control:
Our attitudes – how we react to positive and negative influences (and people) in our lives
How we handle the situation that God brings to us – From James 1 (NIV) 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Don’t just hear the words (of the Bible) do what they say (as we are required to do as disciples of Christ).