11/29/05

Encouragement for Today

 

“Letting Go … When God Says So”

Marybeth Whalen, Author, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Mark 10:29-30, “’I tell you the truth’, Jesus replied, ‘No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life’.”  (NIV)

 

Devotion: 

Recently, God has challenged me to let go of some good things in my life in order to make room for the better things He has planned.  This has been a surprising development in my walk with Him, and a confusing time for me.  Surely, God would not ask me to let go of something that seems so good, would He?

 

I know that the best way to answer a question like this is to search His Word.  So, I began to investigate what the Scriptures have to say about letting go of the things in our lives that are not wrong — and are even good.  I found that, time and again, God did ask His people to let go of certain things in the name of following Him to a new place in their spiritual journey. 

 

He asked them to let go of:

 

People they loved – 1 Kings 19:20 tells the story of Elijah appointing his successor, Elisha.  The verse reads, “Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.  ‘Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,’ he said, ‘and then I will come with you’.”  What I love about this verse is that Elisha does not stall, he does not hesitate — he just drops what he is doing and goes.  Furthermore, he does not leave himself a way to come back to his old life.  In verse 21, it tells us, “He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them.  He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate.  Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.”

 

Their home – In Genesis 12:1, Abraham is comfortable in his hometown, surrounded by his family and friends and familiarity.  Then the Lord says to him, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” 

 

Their possessions – When asked by a man what is necessary to gain eternal life, Jesus tells the man in Mark 10:21, “One thing you lack… Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.  Then come, follow me.”

 

Their professions – Elisha stopped farming, and the disciples stopped fishing.  Matthew 4:18-22 tells us, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘And I will make you fishers of men.’  At once, they left their nets and followed Him.  Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother, John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”

 

Their dreams – Moses had a dream of leading his people into the Promised Land, but that dream was not to be.  He had traveled a great distance and been faithful to God for many years, only to be told by God that he would never enter the Promised Land.  This had to have been hard for Moses, and yet he died communing with God, not bitter and angry.  Deuteronomy 34:4 tells us, “Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, I will give it to your descendants.  I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’”  Moses did not see his dream fulfilled, but by then he had learned that it was not about the dream, but the journey God had him on.  Deuteronomy 34:10 says, “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”

 

God asked all of these people to lay down the good things in their lives in the name of His best.  Not only that, but in most of these situations, He asked for their obedience quickly, quietly and completely — just like I tell my children.  He wants us to lay down whatever might be holding us back and He wants us to do it immediately — no procrastinating, no counting the costs.  He wants us to lay it down quietly — no arguing, rationalizing or questioning.  And He wants us to lay it down completely — no leaving ourselves a way out, no breadcrumb trails so we can find our way back to the old, “just in case.” 

 

Is God asking you to let go of something good in your life to make room for His best?  Have you been arguing, rationalizing, and justifying like me?  May I challenge you to dig into His Word, to seek Him through prayer and to yield to His Will because you love Him, you trust Him, and you know Him to be faithful in all things?  I pray many blessings and much comfort as you journey to that next level in your walk with Him. 

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, please show me whatever it is You are asking me to let go of and give me the strength to do so.  Help me not to question what You ask of me, and to enter into a new level of faith and a new closeness with You as a result.  Thank You Lord that You are there for me when I need You, and that I can count on You no matter what changes in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

Over the next week, keep a journal of what God might be asking of you in your personal walk with Him.  How is He confirming this?  Write down any Scriptures that are particularly speaking to you during this time.

 

Reflection Points: 

What are you avoiding letting go of? 

 

If there is something, what are you afraid of or hesitant about? 

 

Power Verses: 

II Thessalonians 2:16-17, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  (NIV)

 

Matthew 19:27, “Peter answered Him, ‘We have left everything to follow you!  What then will there be for us?’“ (NIV)

 

John 12:25-26, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whatHappens.htm

 

Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_dreamsWoman.htm

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm