Letting go can prove to be a painful experience. This is true especially when we are closely connected to something/one. Our hearts can get so tangled up, that we begin to find it hard to let go. When we hear God calling us away, our flesh rises up in defense. It gives us reason after reason in support of the argument for keeping what God has told us to let go of.
When we find our hands are clinging tightly to something that the Lord has clearly revealed should be released, we have found ourselves an idol. All idols are to be cast at the foot of the cross. We should find all of our satisfaction in God alone.
God made us a relational people. We are like sheep. We travel together and are led together by a Shepherd (John 10:27). God has given us a love for other Christians. Once we have become attached to someone or something it is hard to let go. We have developed habits that are comforting to us.
We have invested in friendships and relationships that we feel is too costly to let go of. Our flesh is strong-willed, and we will have to fight toe to toe in training our minds to obey God and not our desires. We must do so, knowing that God is loving and does all things well.
Many of the things the Lord may lead us to let go of our not bad things, in themselves. Many are good things. A godly relationship is good and pleasing to God. Godly friendships are a blessing and can edify each person.
The material things that we have on earth can even serve as good things if it is under the rule of God...and is not taking His place. We get in trouble when we begin to feel as if we cannot live without the good things God has given us. This means that we have made a gift an idol.
We don't have golden calves or statues in our homes. I had an Indian friend who had a room dedicated to an idol. There was an altar with a big piece of metal that was shaped into the familiar image of a woman with many arms. They worshiped ‘her.’ To us believers, that is foolish!
However, we are blinded by the appearance of our idols, because we have ones set up in our hearts. Our idols that might be physical in nature appear to be good things like the fruit Eve took in the garden.
Isaac was a gift from God… Literally! However, Abraham was tested to see if his gift was loved more than the Giver (Hebrews 11:17). I wonder what our response would be if God were to tell us to put our beloved thing on the altar, where it could be removed from us forever.
WHAT WE CAN DO
We have overused phrases that have lost meaning. Ones like "give it all to God! "Or, "let go, and let God! " These are very godly in nature. However, these phrases aren’t clear on how to act practically. How do you let go and let God? What does it look like to give it all to God?
We can even turn scripture into true, yet weightless phrases. One in particular that comes to mind is "Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:6).” We sometimes use this verse flippantly, and it loses its meaning to us.
Do we really acknowledge God in all of our ways? Or, is our attention mostly on the end of that verse "and He will direct your paths?" We need a better way to live out these truths, in our day-to-day life.
We are often a people of more words than deeds. Picturing myself bringing my treasured idol to God and placing it on the altar, as Abraham did Isaac, is painful to imagine. I once heard that a gift is only safe to keep if we are able to live without it!
We must be able to place our relationships or our material things on the altar, with the possibility of never having them again. If we can’t do this, we love that person or thing more than we love God. In that case, we are no different than the Israelites who worshipped graven images.
There is no condemnation for you, but if God is calling you to let go and to turn to Him instead, you should obey. We can go to God and ask Him to make Him our first love again. Without trying to conjure up a greater love for Him in our own strength, we can ask in confidence.
When we are holding our idols, everything within us will fight against the idea of fasting. However, it is one of the most helpful ways to turn our hearts back to God and our backs against the rivals of God's love. God should be on the throne of our hearts, not something or someone else.
Whatever the Lord has laid upon your heart to let go, set aside a few days of separation from that thing. When you have the urge to go towards it, turn away from it and back towards God. Read His word, pray, and plead that He will satisfy you. He has promised to do so. We must only go and collect the manna (John 6:31).
God may tell us to turn away from a person. The person might be good and encouraging. Still, if we have let our hearts love that person more than we love God, it is something that we must let go of. We show love to our Savior when we do this. He is the only One who deserves that place in our heart.
Like in fasting, our flesh will try to justify reasons to stay with the person that we know God is calling us to turn away from. Our flesh will come up with clever theories and reasons to disobey God's personal call of letting go. Distance yourself from the person/persons, with no contact, for a set amount of days.
When you have a craving to talk to that person, turn your back on that desire and turn toward God. Find what you need from Him through prayer and reading His Word. You will think clearer about the situation when it is just you and God.
Let’s ask God, with sincere hearts, where there might be an idol in our lives. When He shows us the truth of our hearts, let’s either fast or distance ourselves from that thing or person. Ask God to help you make Him your first love again. He will not withhold any good thing from us.
If He is calling us to let go of something, He is not trying to make us miserable. He knows that ‘it’ is not good for us. His goal is to love and protect us, not to hurt us.
The letting go can be very unpleasant, but when we turn to Him, we will see He really is all we need. Then, everything else will fall into their rightful place. They'll be good gifts that will cause us to praise and give thanks to God. May the Lord help us do this!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment!
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