I have two young daughters who daily remind me to let it go. Whether it’s because they break out in song and dance (you know the song from Frozen. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard it 1000 times…and counting), or because I am nudged from above to see the bigger picture of the simple things through their little eyes-but letting it go is something I have to do quite frequently.
So, what exactly is it that I have to let go of? Well, first and foremost, I have to let go of myself. We live in a culture where it is praised and encouraged to live for me, myself and I.
My three best friends and my three worst enemies.
When I read through the story of John the Baptist, it depicts so beautifully that my life is not about me, but about the King of kings. It is not about what I can or cannot do, but about what He has done. In Luke 1, we read that even before John was born, he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15). Further in the chapter we read how John leaped in his mothers womb when Mary’s voice was heard (Luke 1:41). John lived for Jesus, and lived in such a way that glorified Him.
I say I live for Jesus, but if I’m being honest, I really don’t. I live for me. I live for my comforts, my gains and my purposes. I’m selfish and self consumed. I want to live for Him, but I don’t want to be inconvenienced or uncomfortable in the process. Just saying that and writing that makes makes me feel so icky. But, it’s true. I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to go through hardships. I don’t want to sacrifice what’s closest to me. I don’t want to feel another heartbreak that lasts a lifetime.. I want my life to be worry free, trouble free, pain free, illness free… So, I pray, but not boldly, because I am scared of what that might bring. I pray for increased faith, but I pray that with doubt because I am so fearful of what that may look and feel like. I am so consumed with myself, that I am not allowing Jesus to work in my life the way He needs to. I keep getting in His way.
John’s was a “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the ways of the Lord” (John 1:23). He proclaimed the coming of a Savior to people who so desperately needed to be saved. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Speak more and more about Jesus? His grace upon grace, His mercy, His love, His compassion, His life, His death. His death on a cross that saved a wretch like me.. A selfish, and fearful wretch like me.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is John saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Wow.. Such humility. Before Jesus, John was ministering to and baptizing people; not in his name, but in the name of God. When he saw Jesus approaching him in the Jordan, John shouted “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” That day, when John baptized Jesus, feeling unworthy to even touch the straps of His sandals, his ministry ended. He then pointed people away from himself and towards the Son of God.
Well, why didn’t Jesus go to him when he was imprisoned? Why didn’t Jesus save John from being beheaded? Surely Jesus knew what was going on. Surely He could have saved him! But He didn’t. Not because He didn’t love John, but because it wasn’t about John; it never was. Just like it’s not about me, or about you. It is, however, about Jesus.
So, before I can let anything else go, I have to let myself go. Before I can bring anything else to the cross, I have no bring myself to the cross. I must decrease, so He can increase. I must fervently pray for increased faith, and pray that boldly and without fear. I must pray that even in the wilderness, in the valley, and on the prison floor, my faith in HIM can be so large, that there is no room for doubt. I have to let it go (whatever it may be), and let Him do what He does best: Save me.
Lord, you are so gracious to me. Day after day I get in your way, yet you love me just the same. Day after day I struggle with anxieties, fears, the never ending to-do lists, the what if’s of life, yet I fail to acknowledge that you are already in my tomorrow. So Father, help me see beyond myself, and to see how great you are. You, oh Lord, are a good good Father. Forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for thinking that I can do what only you can do. Lord, it is my desire that I may decrease so that there is room for you to increase. I am scared of what that looks like. I am actually terrified of it, God. But I know, Abba God, that you are worth it. I pray this in the beautiful name of Jesus, amen.