Studying and having many thoughts about control this morning. The kind that is in order and healthy and the kind that isn't and hurts people. The scriptures model for us autonomy that willingly subjects itself.
"For 'God has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But when it says, 'all things are put in subjection,' it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all." - 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 ESV
The fallen world was made subject but Jesus was not forced into subjection. He willing subjected Himself and will always put Himself under the authority of the Father.
The proverbs 31 woman is a wonderful picture of autonomy that submits itself.
" An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." - Proverbs 31:10-31 ESV
This person has control of her resources. She has autonomy and takes initiative in generosity.
The God of all grace is not micromanaging us. Perhaps we want that at times so we can say, 'God told me to do it.' and pass the buck of decision making. God owns us but we own our choices.
" 'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up." - 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
This verse is so amazing. It gives us a framework for control that is healthy. The Proverbs 31 woman has a vision for her family and her business practices. It is vision to build up.
Jesus has a vision for the world. He is determined to redeem it and will redeem everything that is redeemable and put away everything else. God has given He autonomy and has progressively added authority to the One who deferred His authority. Jesus has a name above every name.
"Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction." - Proverbs 29:18 NIV
Not the translation I usually use but a good rendering of this verse in particular.
If there is a vacuum of revelation or revelation is refused people resort to unhealthy control that limits freedom in others. Manipulation to gain security. It goes so far as to undermine freedoms and discredit those who represent or promote them.
The redemptive vision is where we will find the right balance. The great commandment and the great commission. We use our will freely to manage our resources understanding that this life was not designed only for endless pleasure seeking but that we have a right to pursue happiness. God has declared desires. He is compassionate and that compassion constrains us in the midst of our freedom.