by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse: Matthew 19:22, “That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go.” (MSG)
I caught myself doing something kind of weird this morning. We were smack in the middle of the morning rush and I had about seven different things on my mind. The girls were supposed to have soccer practice at 4:30, but with rain in the forecast I didn’t know if they really would or not. I saw my cell phone and their coach’s phone number laying on the counter, reminding me that I really needed to store his number in my phone in case I needed it at work to confirm a practice cancellation. I’d been intending to do it for over a week and still hadn’t gotten it done.
I picked up my phone and the slip of paper as I made a quick trip over to the window to see if the bus was coming. I figured I could add the number to my contacts while stealing peeks outside. Just then one of the kids “mommed” me and I was headed back to help with a task in the kitchen. As you all know...one task leads to another, and another, many at the same time. Finally, about ten minutes later, I waved good-by as the kiddos walked down the lane. (YES! We beat the bus today!) As I shut the door behind me, sighing in the aftermath of the whirlwind, I realized I was still clutching the phone in my hand and had been the whole time!
As I rewound the last several minutes through my mind I thought to myself, what a complete goober! How much easier it would’ve been to butter toast, pour a drink, help with coats, zip up backpacks, and snap some pants if I’d had full use of BOTH hands! If I’d let go of that one thing, I’d have been more efficient at all the other things.
I’ve seen the same truth in our spiritual lives too. We sometimes hold on to things that keep us from reaching our full potential in Christ.
I recently heard someone say that when it seems that God is pulling something out of your grasp, he’s only freeing up your hand to fill it with something better. But if we're clinging tightly to pride, or control, or revenge, or fear, or the newest “answer,”or bitterness, or any other thing not of God, we're crippling our efforts for Him and His purpose in our lives. Or worse, like the rich young man in this week's verse, we might be denying ourselves of His very presence in our lives.
Ouch. I want to be more like the “good seed” of Luke 8:15, “But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest.” (MSG)
As I tried to figure out why in the world I didn't just put the phone down, I realized it was probably because I knew if I did, in my limited human-ness, I'd forget to enter that phone number in all the hub-bub of activity. But when we lay something down before our Heavenly Father we don't have to rely on our own very limited natural power. That's the perfect opportunity to use that empty hand to cling to His amazing supernatural power and just wait in faith to see what miracle He does with it.
Amazing Lord, are you ever just astonished at the way we tend to make things harder than they have to be? There You are, just waiting to bless us with something better, if only we'll let go of what hinders us. Help us to do that, Father, and give us the faith to expect you to replace what we've given up with something infinitely superior. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
L-E-T- G-O of whatever is compromising your walk with God...
L—Lay it down. Identify one crippling factor in living your life for the Lord. Surrender it to Him in repentant prayer.
E—Expect His supernatural intervention and fulfillment of His promise in Psalm 91 (see power verse below).
T—Thank Him in advance for working mightily and Tell others of how He fills your empty hand.
G—Grab onto the hem of His garment daily and Go to His Word for your daily bread to sustain yourself.
O—Obey His promptings to continue receiving the blessings that result from letting go.
Mark 7:8, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (NIV)
Hebrews 6:18, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go...”(MSG)
Deuteronomy 13:4, “Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.”(NLT)
Psalm 91:14, "If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God, "I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times; I'll rescue you, then throw you a party. I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!"(MSG)
1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” (NIV)