Thursday, October 3, 2013

Letting Go for Greater - Jesus

"...who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:6-8 (NKJV)

"...but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And, whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life  ransom for many." Mark 10:43-45 (NKJV)

"Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39 (NKJV)

Part of this letting go phase of my life is surrendering my plans and understanding as to how I should start and build the ministry God has called me to. I have worked for a small business owner for several years and learned the ropes of sustaining something successful in the marketplace - hustle. I have a great many skills and extensive training under my belt and I am always eager to learn more. I am equipped and qualified with knowledge, experience and ideas as to how this should look and be done. But God has a different plan that is the opposite of my worldly knowledge and understanding.

If we examine God's plan for salvation using Christ as a sacrifice, our common sense and understanding would rally that His great work could have been done without persecution and bloodshed. Jesus could have kept His deity and saved Himself. He was God! But, He surrendered His all, accepted His task, let go of what was expected, refused to resist what was His reality of persecution and a slow, agonizing death for something greater. Obedience to and pleasing the Father, salvation, reconciliation, restoration, freedom, righteousness, and a permanent unity between God and humanity are the greater He lived and died for.

In this transition into new life in Christ, I am learning that like Him, my power is not in myself but in Him. The route for the fulfillment of my call is to be done His way, not necessarily the way of my understanding and need. The complaining, whining and fretting needs to cease. Just as Jesus' mission was God's plan and in His control, my mission is to be carried out the same way. "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master"(Matthew 10:24). Dying to self gets clearer and clearer the greater the letting go.

The challenge in this lesson is how do you know when to let go and when to plow ahead? For me, it has been when I stop creating my noise of frustration and disappointment. Instantly there is zero tension and chaos. When I let go of what I think should be a part of this ministry, especially what I dread doing, there is a peace in my spirit. I accept His invitation given in Matthew 11:28-30 and rest comes. A lighter yoke is seen and there is assurance that what is seen is the answer. There is no excess attached to it. The core is pure and simple. Jesus lived to show us surrender (a death to self) and died to give us new life in Himself. Life for death and death for life.

As you learn to let go of what God is urging or nudging you to surrender, examine what challenges you? What is this letting go costing you in relationships, time, money, service, etc.? I encourage you to be courageous in sharing your journey here as it may give someone else the permission and courage they need to let go. And if I can pray for you along the way, it would be my pleasure!

Be blessed in Him,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letting Go for Greater - Abraham

"Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan." Genesis 12:1-3, 5 NKJV

Abram and his family embark on a journey that requires them to let go of all that is familiar and comfortable to them. The Bible does not tell us if Abram questioned God. It just says he did what God commanded. If God commanded you to leave all you have known, your beloved comfort zone would you go? What if He asked you to let go of your dreams, goals and plans for the future? Would you say "yes"?

At the beginning of this year, I felt that my "word" for the year was "new." Never did I expect the power that would come from studying examples of that word in the Bible and how it would change my life. Throughout the year I have asked God to bring new into my life and He has brought me to places where I have had to make the decision to follow Him or remain where I was. Today I am slowly letting go of who and what no longer serves the life God has called me to live.

This new way of living has been difficult as I am accustomed to having an explainable plan in case someone asks, and I don't have one. Not having a plan of action or goals looks like a blank piece of paper to me, but I am discovering that this blank space can represent nothing or the whole world is possible. That space can be perceived as bondage or freedom. But in this season of life I am applying the instruction, "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2) and viewing that blank space as an adventure.  Where will God lead? Who will come into my life and what relationships will be no more? How will I grow in Him? How much more of Him will I come to know? Normally I would be a wreck and remain stuck, but this time I have decided to pursue the longings in my heart.

Over the next few weeks, I will share what God is teaching me on this journey to a new life in Him, what it means to let go, how to follow Him and practice the art of receiving. So I am stepping into the new with nervous anticipation, wonder and gratitude. I hope you will join me, and if God is urging or leading you into something new please share your lessons and discoveries.

May you be blessed along the way.