FIRST-PERSON: Remote controls: What would life be like without them?
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- What would our lives be like today without a remote control for our televisions, stereos, DVD players, ceiling fans, cable or satellite devices, and more?
Remote devices have been around for a long time. The first patent was issued for a remote device in 1898 to Nikola Tesla for a radio-controlled boat, but the use of remote controls became more widespread after World War II where the technology was used extensively in military applications.
When televisions became widely available in the 1950s, someone thought of putting military remote technology to use for consumers. Prior to the introduction of remote controls for television, we had to get up, take four to six steps, bend over, push a button or turn a knob to change the channel, adjust the sound or turn the TV off, and then turn around, walk the four to six steps back and sit down.
We are definitely spoiled with the ease of operation we enjoy today, but the television remote control also provides an illustration of some issues we have in our culture today:
Reflecting on the remote
1. Everybody wants to be in charge (of the remote).
2. Nobody can focus (while flipping channels).
3. Entertainment is now a birthright.
4. We've lost our patience and the ability to prioritize.
5. We want everything within our grasp.
6. We become blind to what we are viewing if we aren't careful.
We can't blame the remote for this change, but it is a good reminder of how easily we are influenced by what surrounds us.
Considering who is in charge
The Bible is very clear about several things regarding control:
1. God is in control of everything (Ephesians 1:11).
2. Fallen human beings want to be in control (Isaiah 14:13-14).
3. The tension between God and man over who's in charge is the subtext of the entire biblical revelation (Genesis 3:1-24).
Fortunately, God has provided a way to tame the self-centered, bound-to-control human heart. For every person who will open the door, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. As liquid fills an empty vessel, the Holy Spirit fills the human heart and mind with the presence and power of God. Self-centeredness is not removed, but it is overshadowed and controlled by God-centeredness.
Being "filled with the Holy Spirit" is not an option in the Christian life. It is a necessity -- indeed, a command (Ephesians 5:18). It will change your perspective and your actions.
The apostle Paul contrasts the two lifestyles that result from being controlled either by the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) or by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The differences are starkly evident. Whenever we manifest characteristics of the flesh, we must then yield control of our lives to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to manifest the life of Christ through us. It is then that we learn that true strength comes from being submitted to God through the Spirit.
Submitting to the Spirit
Fortunately, God is not remote -- and He never breaks, gets lost or runs out of power. And He is good! Why would anyone want to fight with God over the issue of control in life? Here's how to ensure that God is in control:
1. Confess your controlling nature. Fallen human beings are control freaks. So tell God that you are sorry for trying to usurp what is rightfully His. He knows you and He will forgive you (1 John 1:9).
2. Invite the Holy Spirit to take control. Confess your sins, creating a clean vessel in which a Holy God can dwell. Invite God to fill your heart and mind with His Spirit so you might be guided and directed (controlled) by Him. Believe that what you ask in faith, you will receive (Luke 11:9-13).
3. Yield to the Spirit. Read the passage in James 4:13-16 about men who boasted about their plans for the future. And take James' words to heart: "Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'" At every crossroads of life, before you "click the remote," stop and yield your choices to God's Holy Spirit. He doesn't need your permission to change your plans, but the very act of your offering it to Him will change you. It will remind you that He, not you, is in control.
4. Be Wise. Finally, follow Ephesians 5:15-17. Redeem the time God has given you. Don't allow any device, desire or distraction to rule your world. Yield your time, treasure and talent to God as you turn your remote control over to Him.