“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s honor.” Hebrews 12:1-2
What prevents us from stepping into all God has promised for our lives? The deeper I grow with Christ, the more questions I present to Him. As I read His Word, I ask Him questions about what He is saying and how it relates to my life and current circumstances. Each year, I prayerfully ponder what will be the focus or theme for the next 12 months. God faithfully reveals to me areas in which He seeks to refine, develop, and mature me as His child. In years past, I have had a word for the year and/or a theme. This year is distinctly different. God has four imperatives for me. “Expect. Believe. Wait. Seek.” Simple words. Challenging to execute. As my focus narrows on how God intends to manifest these concepts into my life, He is showing me that there are some things that have to go before the space is cleared for Him to enter and do His work. I must first release what is preventing me from the abundant life He promises.
Release. Let go of that which hinders me and slows me down. The writer of Hebrews said it best, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us.” To lay aside something is to set it down, to cast it off, to leave it, to release it. In order to release something that is in my grip, I must open my palms. I cannot grasp tightly with an open hand. When my fist is clenched, I am holding on to something. I cannot simultaneously grip and release. To release, my hand opens. To hold tightly, my hand closes.
I began asking God about the things He wanted me to release. It is easy to fool ourselves into a false sense of comfort and security, believing we are living the surrendered life. Until something happens and our world tilts on its axis. Then, we no longer are able to hide behind our facade of faith. The question assaults us: was my faith only control under cover? Control and security go hand-in-hand. We feel secure when we feel like we have control over our circumstances, control over our finances, control over our families, control over our health, control over our schedules, control over whatever we can control. But it is all a facade. We are not in control. The age-old battle is the battle for control. Satan was cast from heaven because He wanted to be like God and to have the power. Power makes us feel like we can control things. Our culture deceives us and counterfeits God’s truth by saying we can control our destiny. God is the only one who sits on the throne. God is the maker and the sustainer of the universe. Yet, He is also intimately involved in the details of our everyday lives. Sure, there are some things we can control. Things like how much we eat, how much we exercise, when to go to bed, our tv time, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time. Those are choices within our control. Inherent in our spheres of control is the call to surrender even those to God. There is a delicate balance between our desire for control and faith, or lack thereof, in God. When I attempt to control things, I have stopped believing God is capable of handling things here for me. Subconsciously, I try to help out God with managing things in my little sector of the world. Oh how I long to believe God and take Him at His Word. This is one of those tenets of the Christian life that often is neglected, and, therein, stalls the believer’s walk with God. I have believed God for my eternal salvation. I believe in Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God who was slain for me. I believe He died, was buried, and raised on the third day. I believe He ascended to heaven, and I believe He is returning again someday. I trust Him with my eternal security. Yet, why do I wrestle with trusting Him with the details of the my daily life? Do I not think He is capable with my security on earth, only in heaven? Why do I often struggle to believe what He says about me? Why do I battle believing He will fulfill His promises on this side of heaven? Because I have fooled myself into thinking I have some modicum of control over those things. And when I feel like I have control, I have a sense of security. I cannot simultaneously hold on to my false sense of control while releasing and surrendering myself to Him. Jesus is my source of security–period. He is my security right now and He is my eternal security. Thus it is time to release my efforts to control.
God is saying, “Release control to Me. I am trustworthy, and I love you more than you can even fathom. I want good for you and your life. I allow challenges and difficulties into your life at times to refine, to strengthen, to prune, and to teach you. Trust my plan for you. My plans are better for you than any you could contrive on your own. Release your grasp on control, and take My hand. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Today, the weight that He is calling me to lay aside is the unnecessary weight of false control. Today is the day to release to Him what is already His. Can you feel it–the unnecessary burden and weight of control sliding from your shoulders onto His? In a world that seems so out of control right now, take heart in Christ, dear friend, because God is in control and we don’t have to be. He is trustworthy.