Power struggles are common in today’s leadership landscape. Countries, companies, politicians, leaders, teams, communities, and family members often battle for power and control. Unfortunately, the quest for power has led many people astray and has been the downfall of many leaders. In our society, there is no shortage of power struggles and power plays, and they often reveal an ugly side of leadership.

  The struggle for control is powerful, and our leadership instincts don’t give up control very often. We usually fight for it, and once we think we have it, we don’t want to part with it. Feeling in control feels good, and feeling out-of-control is something we try very hard to avoid. Most leaders want to choose their own path and make their own destiny. However, there is a rare freedom in giving up control to God who knows all, sees all, and understands all things. Unfortunately, we often end up in a cosmic game of tug-of-war with God over who’s in charge of our lives, and the harder we pull, the more unhappy and unsatisfied we become. (check out the video below)


  The Bible is full of regular everyday people who struggled to let go of control and allow God to lead and guide their lives. Abraham is one of those people. The struggle for control of his life was real, but he slowly learned to trust the Lord’s plans.

  After 25 years, Abraham was finally blessed with the son that God had promised him. Isaac would become Abraham’s heir. However, Abraham’s struggle was not over. As time passed, the Lord asked the unthinkable… the ultimate surrender of control.

  • Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”  “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (Gen. 22:1-2, NLT) 

  Crazy! Why would God bless Abraham with a son only to take him away? Did God really want Abraham to sacrifice his son? That doesn’t seem like the loving and caring God that we have come to trust and follow. Well, it was an extremely difficult test of Abraham’s faith, and a test of God’s provision. Amazingly, Abraham obeyed. He took Isaac with him up the mountain and trusted that God would provide another way. He bound his son to the altar and was about to sacrifice Isaac, when the Lord stopped him.

  Abraham proved once again the depth of his faith in God. He trusted God to provide, and He did. God never intended to harm Isaac, instead He provided a ram for the sacrifice. Abraham did things God’s way, and he was rewarded. He released control of his life and surrendered to God’s will and power.

  It can be hard to trust God at times. Being so dependent on Him can be a real test of faith. In these faith-building moments, we hold our breath because either God comes through for us or we’re toast. Sink or swim, we decide to go all in on giving God the control. 

What does it take to invite God into your leadership, and release control to Him?


Posted: July 2023 • Author: Larry Ely

Excerpt: “Chapter 6- Change in Power: Who’s in Charge?” from Leadership and Faith: The Art of Leading Well.

© Larry Ely & Daniel Ely. All rights reserved.