Let Go and Let God?
Luke 22:44 Being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
As I finished my workout yesterday, I noticed that both of my shins were bleeding. Though they looked dramatic, they were just painless abrasions, so I wiped them off and moved on. It occurred to me later though, that I do not think much of bleeding for exercise. I had to ask, What if I put as much energy into my spiritual health as I do into my physical health? Why do I not sweat, strain or bleed for my faith?
We have been taught somewhere that following God is easy. Just let go and let God. I have heard pastors say, if you are struggling with a destructive behavior, just stop doing it. I have often been told how easy it is to stop doing wrong and follow God. Just do it…
I promise you though, that if your plan to deal with your pride, anger or addiction is to just stop, you will fail. If I ever tell you to that all you need to do is let go and just stop, you can be assured that I have lost touch with reality and cannot understand your struggle. Blind to my own struggle, I will have no idea how to help you.
When I was mired in addiction to drugs, I regularly complained to God that I had tried so hard to stop. The truth is, I had done nothing. I had just tried really really hard not to do it again. I would not confess, go to treatment or change my life. I certainly did not sweat or bleed.
Today’s passage tells of how Jesus, on the night before his torture and crucifixion, struggled with his flesh nature. Though He was God, He knew that as a man, He was going to feel very real pain. Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me (v 42). We are told that in his agony, He sweat drops of blood. It was with blood, sweat and tears that Jesus wrestled his own will to the ground and surrendered to the father. Not my will, but yours, be done (v 42).
I often complain that I am trying so hard to stop some destructive behavior. I don’t eat that much, I exercise and I am still overweight. The truth is, that I have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood (Hebrews 12:4). I may say I have tried really hard, but usually, that just means that I want God to magically fix me without working for it. Though I think I want transformation, I remain unwilling to do what it takes to get there.
I usually fail in one of two ways. First, I usually fail to commit to radical, violent change. I want to lose weight but I still buy chips and donuts. I am not willing to expend blood, sweat and tears in my struggle to eat right, so I fail. The second failure is that I often just try to use God for self-improvement. Transformation’s entire purpose is to find God. He is not in this for my belt size. Finding God is always the goal. If I try to abandon self but do not turn to God to fill my deepest needs, I will always return to some destructive behavior of self.
Am I to Let go and let God? No. I am to continually do whatever it takes to abandon self and follow Christ. This may well mean blood, sweat and tears on my part.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.