Sovereign: having supreme or ultimate power
What does it mean that God is sovereign? Does it mean He is in control of everything and makes all things happen? That nothing happens outside His will? We often hear, “Oh well, I know God is in control” as people try to make sense out of what is going on. But let’s look closer.
God created mankind and designed the world we live in. He created the earth with design laws or protocols—realities we can count on. We have physical design laws like gravity, physics, nutrition, and sleep. There are relational design laws such as love, forgiveness, and honesty. And there are spiritual design laws like worship, truth, and wisdom.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
—Colossians 1:16 (NASB)
God also gave people free will—the ability to choose to align ourselves with His created order and ways or to choose our own way. Why? Because He is love—perfect love. And love goes hand-in-hand with freedom. Love is always a choice. It cannot be legislated or forced.
In a country, there is a government, king, or ruler that is sovereign. The government has the utmost authority and power over how a society functions. However, the sovereign government cannot make someone follow the laws of the country, but it can have consequences for disobeying the laws.
If you go over the speed limit, endangering others on the road, you may be fined or even jailed. If you steal or murder, harming someone else, you will be arrested, your freedom taken away, and probably put in prison. Governments have power, but they can’t control what people do or don’t do.
God has supreme power and authority, but He doesn’t use that power to control people. He invites us to cooperate with His design laws and come under His sovereignty and ways in how we live.
It’s interesting, whether or not we believe there is a sovereign God and whether or not we align ourselves with the name of Jesus Christ, we will still have the blessings that come from living in harmony with the design laws put in place at the beginning of creation.
At the same time, if we choose to go against God’s design laws, we will have consequences.
- If we ignore the law of gravity and jump off a building, we will be injured or die.
- If we don’t sleep, we will get sick or not function well.
- If we don’t forgive, we will live with bitterness, broken relationships and possibly poor health.
- If we have an affair, we break trust, and emotionally and relationally harm our spouse and family.
- If our main focus is on ourselves and our own happiness, we become depressed and lonely.
- If we worship a false god, we end up disappointed.
Yes, God is sovereign, but He has chosen not to control the people He created. Instead, He invites us to come under His sovereignty and to join Him in making the world a better place. It’s in relationship with Him that we are empowered with wisdom and abilities to bring His ways and love to earth.
And yes, God has the final word. Will you rest and live under His sovereignty?
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments;
and His commandments are not burdensome.
—1 John 5:3 (NASB)
“If you are willing and obedient, You will eat the best of the land;”
—Isaiah 1:19 (NASB)
Lord, thank you for Your design laws, established for our good. Forgive me for subtle ways I have thought of them as burdensome rather than life-giving. Is there any way You want me to think differently about Your sovereignty and Your design laws? (Pause and listen to the Lord in prayer.)
Holy Spirit, change my ways of thinking so my thoughts, motives, heart, and words are like God’s.