Letting Go

#1 R= Realize

#2 E= Earnestly

#3 Consciously Choose

 

Did you hear about the pet-store delivery truck going down the road. At every stop light, the driver would jump out, run to the back of the truck, grab a 2x4 and start beating on the side of the truck. Nobody could figure out what he was doing. So finally somebody asked him, “What are you doing?” He said, “This is only a 2-ton truck and I’m carrying 4 tons of canaries. I’ve got to keep 2 tons of them in the air all the time.”

 

 

Maybe that’s where you’re at. Trying to cope. Trying to keep it all in the air. Trying to keep it from all crashing down.

 

We have a tendency to get stuck in life. We get stuck in relationships. We get stuck with habits. We get stuck in grief when we lose a loved one. We get stuck in anger. We get stuck in our work. We get stuck in our spiritual growth our maturing process. (although rarely see it or admit it)  

 

And then once you get stuck, then you start feeling guilty that you’re stuck, or you make excuses, blame someone else, quit, runaway.  You say, “I wish I could get out of this. I’ll just try harder.” Or your response to everything is, "I can't, I don't want to, I won't do it, I'm not going to." With God he wants to give us a yes I can attitude and He wants to help.

 

And then you get angry at yourself when you don’t change. “I ought to be able to get out of this.” But you don’t. And then your anger turns to fear: “I’m never going to get out of this. It’s got control of me. I’m going to end up in the hospital.” Then your fear eventually turns to depression. You start feeling sorry for yourself. You throw yourself a pity party. You resign, “I give up. I can’t change. I’m stuck.” And the cycle starts all over again. And you get stuck deeper.

 

How do you break out of that “stuckness”?

That’s what we’ve been talking about for a couple of weeks.

 

Step 1: Recognize the truth. “I’ve got a problem. I’m not God. I’m powerless to change on my own. I’m stuck and my life is unmanageable.” That’s the REALITY step.

 

Step 2: Earnestly believe God. “It’s a fact: I don’t have the power. But God does! He knows about my problem. And he cares about my problem. And He’s got the supernatural, soul-level, grace-power to help me to change.” That’s the HOPE step.

 

But it’s not enough just to know that God will help you. You’ve got to make a decision. That’s the 3rd step. It’s the “C” in R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y.

 

Consciously CHOOSE to commit all my life and will to Christ’s CARE and CONTROL.

It's our choice.

 

This step, your choice, is based on what Jesus said in Matthew 11: Come to me all you who are weary and overburdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus says, “Come to Me.” It’s God’s invitation. “I will lighten your load. You will have relief. You will have release. You will have rest. Give me control and I will give you life!

 

What a deal! Why would anybody turn that deal down? Yet some of you have heard this before and you’ve never acted on it. It’s like having an unopened gift. God says, “I want to give you this gift of relief and release and recovery and you’ve done nothing about it.”

 

What keeps us from taking this 3rd Step? What causes me to procrastinate giving my problems to God, to delay surrendering my life to the care and control of Christ? Mostly 5 attitudes or mind sets.

 

1. PRIDE: “I don’t want to admit I need anybody or anything

Prov. 18:12: “Arrogant people are on the way to ruin because they won’t admit it when they need help.”

 

Prov. 18:1 He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. He rages against all wise judgment. (NKJV)

 

2. GUILT: “I’m ashamed to ask God for help.”

 

Ps. 40:13: “Problems, far too big for me to solve are piled higher than my head. Meanwhile, my sins, too many to count, have caught up with me and I’m ashamed to look up.” Ever felt that way?

 

• “Do you have any idea how many times I’ve asked God for help and I’ve made a promise and I’ve broken the promise?

• “God if you just get me out of this…”

• “I’m embarrassed to ask God for help. You don’t know all the things I’ve done wrong.”

• “I couldn’t go to God and ask for help.”

 

You’re wrong. Dead wrong. There’s no sin that God cannot forgive. And He wants to help you. Don’t let pride or guilt keep you from taking this step. He wants to forgive your guilt.

 

3. FEAR: “I’m afraid of what I might have to give up.”

 

There’s this story of a guy that falls off a cliff. Halfway down, he grabs a branch. He’s hanging on for dear life. 500 feet down. 500 feet up. He cries out, “Somebody help!” He hears the voice of God, “This is the Lord, trust Me, let go and I’ll catch you.”

 

He looks down. He looks up. “Is there anybody else up there?” God is the last resort. I’m afraid to let go. Some of you are hanging on for dear life by that branch and saying, “This isn’t that bad. No problem I got this.

What are you afraid of? You say, “I don’t want anybody controlling me.” Who are you kidding? You’re being controlled all the time. It’s just that you choose who you’re being controlled by when you let God control your life. You’re controlled by the opinions of other people. By the way you’re parents raised you. You’re controlled by hurts you can’t forget. You controlled by habits, hang-ups.

 

Do you know WHAT FREEDOM IS? Freedom is choosing who controls you. When you give your life in care and control of Christ, He sets you free. Jesus said, “Those who sin are slaves to sin, but if you know the truth, the truth will set you free.” Jesus says, “I set you free.” Bob Dylan used to say, “You’re going to have to serve somebody.” Even if it’s your own ego, your own plans your own ideas or agenda. Real freedom is choosing who your Master will be.

 

So what are you afraid of? What are you holding on to that you think, “I can’t let go of this in order to give my life to God?” A relationship, ambition, a habit, a lifestyle, a possession.

 

(Mark 8:36) “How does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? Is anything worth more than his soul?” No.

When you take this 3rd Step, you give up everything — then you never had it so good. Because He takes what you’ve given Him, He turns it around, He adds new meaning, new significance, new vitality, gives it back to you in a whole new way.

 

Don’t worry about the specifics. In fact, that’s the 4th thing that keeps you from choosing to commit to Christ.

 

4. WORRY: “I confuse the decision-making phase with the problem-solving phase.”

 

HUGE ONE, HUGE ONE: DON'T GET TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU REGRET NEVER HAVING MADE THIS DECISION.  Back in 1963, when JFK announced publicly, “We’re going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade,” that was the decision. Had all the problems been solved when he made that decision? No. If you’re a good manager you know you never confuse decision making with problem solving. If you confuse them, you’ll never make the decision. You have to make the decision, THEN solve the problems. Kennedy said, “We’re going to go to the moon,”THEN it was NASA’s problem to figure out the solutions to the problems.

 

You make the decision and THEN you solve the problems. If you wait for all the stop lights to turn green first, you’ll never go anywhere.

 

Anybody here ever buy a house?? Do you take all of your belongings and see if they'll fit in that house before you buy it?? It’s easy to decide to buy the house. Then the work starts — packing, loading, unloading, sending out the change of address stuff. Don’t let worry bother you and keep you from making the decision.

 

This is the most important thing I’ll say today: THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A DECISION FOLLOWED BY A PROCESS. Same with recovery. It is a decision followed by a process. All I’m talking about today is the decision, THE CHOICE. “OK, let’s do it, let’s go for it.” At CFWC, we have a process that allows you a safe place to grow.

 

In World War II, the Marines had a definite strategy they used when they went to retake the Pacific from the Japanese. They used the same strategy on every island and it worked every time.

 

First, the Marines would go to the island that had been taken captive, and they would start bombing it, and they would just pelt it with bombs and grenades and all kinds of explosives. That was called the softening-up period.

 

Many of you are in the softening-up period, right now. And all kinds of explosions are going off in your life, sending fragments everywhere and you’re saying, “This isn’t working.” You come to a point where you say, “Yes, I need something beyond myself.” It’s softening up your pride. “I need help. I need God in my life. There’s too much stress.”

The second phase, the Marines would come in and establish a beachhead, maybe only twenty yards deep and two hundred yards wide but they would just get a presence on the island. When they had established the beach head, had they completely liberated the island? No. They had just gotten in. From there, they began to fight the battles. Sometimes they’d move one hundred yards forward and sometimes they’d get pushed back. And sometimes they’d win the battle and sometimes they’d lose it. But everybody knew that once they’d established a beachhead total liberation of the island was inevitable, just a matter of time that the entire island would be set free.

 

Maybe you worry that in this battle, you can’t hold on and hold out. God says, “Don’t worry. It’s not your job to keep it. I do the keeping.” (1 Peter 5:7) “Cast all your anxiety on God because He cares for you.” He says, “I care for you. I hold you in My hand.”

 

When my son was younger and we’d cross a busy street, I’d grab hold of his hand. As we were walking across the street, he might want to let go. But no matter how much he wanted to let go, I wouldn’t let go of his hand — because I am a loving father and I knew the consequences could be devastating. Once you have grabbed His hand, God holds on to yours. He won’t let go. Whatever God asks me to do, He’ll enable me to do. (Philippians 1:6) “God who began a good work in you, will keep right on helping you to grow in His grace until His task is finally completed.”

 

5. DOUBT: “I want to believe but my faith just seems so small.

 

You need to know the story of a guy named Jairus in the Bible. Jairus came to Jesus one day. “Jesus, I know You can heal people. My daughter needs to be healed.” Jesus said, “If you have faith, then she will be healed.” Jairus was real honest. He said, “Lord, I’ve got a lot of doubts. I want to believe. Help me with my unbelief.Jesus said, “That’s good enough.” And He healed the girl.

 

Maybe you need to say, like Jairus, “God, I want to believe that you will help me with my life. Help me with my unbelief.” That’s good enough.

You may be thinking, “Don’t you have to have a big faith?”

Look at what the Bible says. (Matthew 17:20) “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you. It’s not the size of your faith that matters. It’s the size of what you put it in — the size of your God. You can have giant faith, put it in the wrong thing and get no results. Faith is not the issue. The issue is the object of your faith — what do you put it in. A little faith in a big God gets big results.

 

I must: Consciously CHOOSE to commit all my life and will to Christ’s CARE and CONTROL. That’s the 3rd Step on the Road to Recovery. Don’t let any of these things — Pride, Guilt, Fear, Worry or Doubt — keep you from taking this step.

Some of you say, I’ve tried giving my life to God and it just didn’t work.” My guess is that is that you probably didn’t fully understand what it all involved. You were INVOLVED. You just WEREN’T COMMITTED. Like the kamikaze pilot who went on 33 missions. He was involved but not committed.

 

“So, how do I do this? What does it mean to take this step?”

 

1. Accept GOD’S SON as my Savior.

 

I need to be saved, rescued, redeemed. I need help. I realize I need Him in my life. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) What does it mean? It means committing as much of myself as I understand at this moment, to as much of Christ as I understand at this moment. “Is that good enough?” That is good enough.

 

2. I accept GOD’S WORD as my standard for living.

 

One clever graffiti writer said: “This life is a test. It is only a test. Had it been an actual life, you would have been given an instruction manual to tell you what to do and where to go.” Fortunately, we DO HAVE an instruction manual. It’s the Bible. God says, “This is your standard by which you evaluate life around you.” (2 Tim. 3:16) “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching the faith and correcting error for resetting the direction of a man’s life, training him in good living.”

 

3. I accept GOD’S WILL as my strategy, as my goal in life.

 

It’s as simple as asking, “God, what do you want me to do?”

I first seek God’s will. “God, I’m willing to do anything, anywhere, anytime. I don’t even have to understand it. But I’m living my life on Your terms — because You made me for a reason. Is there a part of your life you keep living on your terms?? You must let God’s will becomes your strategy for life, whether you understand it or not. Whether you agree with it or not.

 

4. I accept GOD’S POWER as my strength.

 

(Philippians 4:13) “I can do everything God asks me with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.No longer do I have to rely on my own energy. Things work better when they’re plugged in. Even you and me. Get plugged into God, so you’re not so tired all the time. God says, “I will give you My power to be all I want you to be.”

 

Pilots fly either by IFR or VFR. IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules. VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules. Every pilot is flying by one or the other.

IFR is when you taxi out on a runway, you contact the control tower, you submit to the controls of the system, you set your instruments, and it’s a done deal. You’re controlled by the instruments — a very safe way of flying.

VFR — Visual Flight Rules — you just kind of taxi on the runway, look around, looks OK, and take off and just fly around and use your sight. VFR is fine as long as you can see everything — if it’s clear weather and not a lot of traffic.

 

But one day, if you fly enough you’re going to eventually hit bad weather. You’re going to get lost in some clouds and at one point you have to pick up the microphone and say, “I need to switch over to IFR” and you submit to the controls of that channel. All airlines fly IFR. All pros fly IFR but a lot of amateurs fly VFR.

The FAA says that a lot of these small plane crashes, many of those could have been prevented if they had simply switched to IFR giving up control. Think a pilot wants to admit he’s lost? Admit that he needs help? Not likely. He wants to control it on his own, be his own boss, set his own destiny — even if it does mean flying into that mountain or tree.

You have made it pretty well along to this point in life flying VFR. And you’ve controlled everything. But it’s an inevitable part of life that you’re going to have bad weather and you need to switch to IFR.  You’ve got to pick up the microphone and switch to God’s system. “I surrender to the care and control of Christ” — or it’s an invitation to disaster.

 

Jesus said it simply: (Matthew 5:5) “Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.” You’re not God. But there is a God who cares about you and can change your life. And if you will let go and let Jesus Christ have control.