Summary: What it really means for Jesus Christ to control the life of a believer - the presentation of our bodies, the process of the renewing of our minds, and the performance of the Will Of God.

Who’s Pulling The Strings?

(Have ready made a giant marionette frame (4’x6’ or larger) with rope through the control arms.

As you begin, start to attach the ropes to your legs and arms making you a human marionette.)

I remember that when I was seven, our WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD would all congregate at the

house across the street at five o’clock on weekday afternoons to watch “Howdy Doody.” It was

the only TV in the neighborhood and they graciously invited all of us kids in to watch the “Howdy

Doody Show.” Now I know that for most of you it is “Howdy Who?” Or perhaps you read

about him in a history book? Howdy was often referred to as a puppet, but technically he was a

marionette and needed a control frame like this. (bring out the giant frame and begin to attach the

ropes) It was a couple of years latter that my mom and dad helped my brother and myself make

our first marionettes and of course the wood arms and legs connected with eye screws and topped

off with a paper mache head had to look like Howdy Doody! It took a while but we finally

learned how to make our marionettes move and act like the Howdy that we saw on TV. The

secret was in the control stick or arm that we held in our hands. The front arm worked the legs,

the rear arm the hands. And then there was a stable line that attached the whole marionette to the

control frame.

You may think that I look a bit silly this morning all tied up like a marionette with this giant

control arm over my head. But in one sense we are all like this - we are all marionettes even

though you cannot see the strings and control arm. You see someone or something is pulling the

strings of your life this morning. The question is WHO? Who is pulling the strings of your life?

In some cases it could be YOU, yourself. In other cases it could be some current

CIRCUMSTANCE that tugs the strings. It could also be some ADDICTION, or emotional

hang-up like ANGER or even a lack of forgiveness. Just about anything or anyone can be pulling

the strings of your life. The truth is that someone or something is! And in those cases, as I

discovered as a small boy, the marionette ends up in a tangle heap of twisted arms, legs and string.

The question this morning is WHO is pulling the strings and can anyone keep the strings of our

lives from becoming a tangled mess?

As believers it is EASY to say that the Lord Jesus Christ is pulling the strings, but in many cases

that may not be entirely true because the EVIDENCE is often to the contrary and our lives are as

tangled as our unredeemed neighbors. This morning I want us to look at a familiar passage that

tells us WHY it makes great sense for Christ to be in possession of the control arm of our lives

and WHAT are the results or evidence that we can expect when He is. Please turn to one of the

most fantastic chapters in all the Scripture - Romans twelve and lets read verses 1 and 2.

Verse one tells us about the PRESENTATION OF OUR BODIES. We learn that such a move is

reasonable - that is that it makes sense! It is LOGICAL - when you think about it - review the

alternatives - this is the best choice! We also learn that it is the pre-requisite and SUBSTANCE

of our worship - worship that PLEASES God. When we talk about presenting our bodies to the

Lord, we are talking about that dirty word and avoided concept of, “COMMITMENT.” It is

interesting that according to verse one that God requires a “LIVING SACRIFICE.” Someone

once commented that the only trouble with a living sacrifice is that it is always trying to crawl off

the altar and that it requires an intentional move on our part to stay on that altar by making our

commitment CONTINUOUS!

But HOW do we do that? Let’s look at verse two in detail which gives us the PROCESS! I have

always liked the way the paraphrased version renders verse two, “Do not let the world squeeze

you into its mold.” Perhaps the best way to understand verse two is to think in terms of

COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEMS. For computers you might have Windows, 95, 98, or

2000 or even the new XP. Such an operating system dictates or spells out HOW your computer

will function - it will determine the rules and boundaries and best focus the energy of the whole

system. God has provided such an operating system for the body, will and mind that we offer to

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