Christian Devotionals

"There’s Power in Letting Go"

Chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us “There is a time for everything.” From that famous passage – made popular by The Byrds song “Turn, Turn, Turn” in 1965 - may I be so bold as to add one more: A time to let go and a time to let God. Now let me state this first, God is almighty and sovereign. He will get His way. Yet in our lives, He gives us free will where we can choose to obey or disobey. You see He wants a personal and intimate relationship with each of us through His Son Jesus, yet He wants it to be of our own free will. He could have created us to be automatons where we’re programmed only to obey, but how intimate can you get with a bunch of robots? How honoring and pleasing can automated obedience be? This free will thing was a bold and daring move by God. Imagine the ramifications of giving a bunch of independent-minded creatures like us free will. In the book “Wild at Heart” written by John Eldredge, he calls God the biggest risk taker of all time (for that very decision to give us free will).  I’m glad that He did, aren’t you? And praise God that He doesn’t just leave us on our own with our free will to fend for ourselves.  No, God sent His Son to earth to teach us the Father’s ways and liberate us from our sin. He also gave us His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us to resist sin and live a God-honoring life.

As great as all this sounds, we still face lots of obstacles to living the Christian life. This free will thing can and does get people into a lot of trouble (especially self-centered and self-reliant people).  It doesn’t help matters when you throw in a devil who is relentlessly plotting schemes against us. Moreover, this enemy of our souls will use a world filled with sinful delicacies combined with the desires of our human flesh to entice us to do evil. We’re warned about this in 1 John 2:15-16:

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Sure we were meant to enjoy the good things that our Creator provides for us, but we need to keep our priorities straight. Our generous Father doesn’t want us to be poor and destitute, but when “worldly stuff” like wealth, bigger homes, recreation and fancy jobs come before God, we open up a door for trouble.When we shut God out of our lives – whether it be intentionally or unintentionally – and try to go it alone, we’ve got a recipe for disaster. On our own we’re no match for the evil powers of the spiritual realm. The devil will use the world and the desires of our flesh to led us into temptation and sin. Here’s where we really need to let go and let God. Christ followers have the capacity to walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit (Galatians 5). Yet many Christians fail to utilize these supernatural resources because they’re so accustomed to relying on their own abilities. Knock that off! Jesus is the perfect Gentleman; He won’t force Himself on anyone. In order to truly let go and let God, we need to yield EVERYTHING to Christ and trust Him to do what’s best for us. Writer Gary Inrig puts it this way in his book “Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay”-
“His purpose is to produce rich fruit in my life, and that comes as I refuse to walk in the flesh and instead, put myself under the control of His Spirit. In His time, there is a wonderfully satisfying harvest.”

This surrendering thing is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the only way to living a victorious Christian life. In Part II of this devotion (available next Monday), we’ll see how God honors and blesses those who have the guts to let go.

Last week we talked about relying on God and trusting Him to enable you to live a successful Christian life. It takes guts to surrender. The very word “surrender” conjures up images of defeat and shame in our “take charge” culture. In God’s Kingdom, however, surrender and obedience is the only way to defeat our adversary (the devil) and live the abundant life that Jesus promised us.

Sure Satan is a formidable foe, but He’s no match for God and God is with us everywhere we go. I’d like to comfort you with a biblical truth that we often overlook. God fights for us. That’s right, throughout the ages God has fought for His people and this includes you and me. One day while going through my memory verses, I kept coming across passages where God fought for His people. Here are just a few of these verses. Meditate on these passages for a while and draw courage from them as you face the problems and enemies that are before you. No matter how alone or outflanked you may feel, God is with you and He will fight for you:

22You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.’
(Deuteronomy 3:22 - New King James Version)

7 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”
(2 Chronicles 32:7-9  - New International Version)

In cases like those cited above, God teamed up with His people to defeat their vastly superior enemies. But first they needed to step out in faith, face their enemy on the battlefield and allow God to take it from there. That can be really frightening, but as we see time and time again throughout the Old Testament, God fought and defeated their enemies.

There are other times when God just wants us to be still and allow Him to take care of things. Here is a great example of letting go and letting God. In the next passage Pharaoh and his armies were pressing in on the Israelites who were fleeing Egypt en route to the Promised Land.

13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
(Exodus 14:13-14  - New International Version)

“You need only to be still.” As we know, God took care of the Egyptian army by drowning them in the Red Sea (after safely delivering His people to the other side). So you might be wondering how does this apply to us today or to my present situation. Well it’s like this. Sometimes God doesn’t want us to do battle with our “enemies” – whether it’s an unscrupulous boss, a cruel and spiteful colleague, a  slandering gossip or a hostile and abusive boyfriend or husband. This may be too much for you to handle and God may instruct you to leave this to Him. He may not drown them in the Red Sea or blast them with fireballs from heaven, but He can get a boss or colleague transferred or fired. He may see to it that an abusive boyfriend is arrested and He may expose the lies of your slanderer and set the record straight. I’ve seen it happen.

If you are a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, you’ve got connections that are out of this world. Stay connected to your Lord, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey Him. Most importantly, don’t attempt to fight Kingdom battles in your own power. Let God fight for you. Remember this:

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
(Romans 8:31).