I just finished another book called Who Will Deliver Us? The Present Power of the Death of Christ by Paul Zahl. Powerful.
One of the things he wrote had to do with the power we give to others, power over ourselves. Zahl wrote:
A ministry of imputation calls for preaching and teaching a dramatic affirmation of the self. (I had a little difficulty with that sentence, till I read the rest of what he wrote). It is initially a question of recognizing a virtually universal negative experience (something everyone might experience) of life: that we allow others to carry our value. Other people have an extraordinary hold over us: their view of us, or what we think their view is, matters more than what we think of ourselves. Imputation (Christ's righteousness credited to us) turns this situation around, declaring that in the great transaction of the death of Christ, God has reaffirmed the priceless value he conferred on human beings in our creation. (p. 73)
That is pretty heavy. We all relinquish that kind of control to others every day of our lives--some of us more than others. How?We worry about what so-and-so might think about a decision we made (or didn't make), we stress over what another may think about our theological or political views, or we may be kept from doing something God is leading us to do because another may be critical of us.
We avoid reaching out to another fearing rejection, or we back away from another because we "perceive" that person does not think much of us. We get all worked up over what someone else may think of us.
Finally, we work ourselves into a frenzy because of what we think others may be thinking about us. Why? Why do we do these things?
We forget that as believers, we are justified in God's sight--get that, God's sight--his view of us is what matters. The atonement by Jesus Christ has redeemed us, and set us free. We have been set free from all of these worries that consume us, and "God has reaffirmed the priceless value he conferred on human beings in our creation" by sending Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin. Those who have been purchased by the blood of Jesus must remember just how valuable we are to God, how valuable we are in his sight.
So, who is controlling you?