“The ones God uses the most, are the ones who hold on to the least.” Craig Groeschel (Pastor Lifechurch.tv)
It took a second for the words to sink in after he said it, Sunday, during the first message of a series on the prophet, Elisha. I nodded in agreement thinking, “Yes, that’s good. He uses the most those who hold onto the least.”
(Picture by Lifechurch.tv – Elisha – A Tale of Ridiculous Faith by Craig Groeschel)
But, it’s easy to agree with a sermon on Sunday – it’s the living out of it on Monday that gets you! It’s the baring of the heart that brings the realization of how much is still being held onto.
I heard Craig’s voice way after he stopped speaking.
“What still holds me? What still holds me?” – it resonated in my soul and pounded in my heart.
I want to be a part of that “most”- those with palms open, holding onto nothing but trust in Him.
But, that surrendering of the tangible for the intangible can be so difficult. And the Deceiver plays to the worries, knowing just the right words to say, doesn’t he?
Hissing…“I don’t think He means give up those things you have worked so hard for. I don’t think He means whatever you have to do to make a living – or all of your time – or all of your money. Certainly He doesn’t mean giving up your loved ones – a good wife and mother always holds on to her family. Or your possessions – it would be crazy if you didn’t hold on to some of them – you need them.”
And at the bidding of an enemy – fingers close ever so tightly around just a few things – not all – just a few. Because giving up all would be crazy.
But a heart placed freely on His altar leaves no stone unturned, even at it’s own expense.
So I beg, “Lord, I want to just lay it all open, right here in front of us both, and if I’m holding back something that I don’t even know I’m holding back – could You just take the cover off and show me?”
Because these days, I would rather experience the anguish of an uncovering, than the ignorance of satisfaction.
It’s not that I enjoy torture – it’s just that I am so ready to be delivered from anything that could have the appearance of a self-satisfied holiness. Because it’s so easy to live there – content in the works He has done in the past – clinging to testimonies that are years, if not decades, old. That’s not to say the testimonies of past are unimportant – they are vital to the foundations of God’s work in our lives – we should keep record of them, and tell them to generation after generation.
But, it’s easier for all of us to smile, and nod, and agree with Truth, all the while covering over pools of anxiety, or rivers of unworthiness, or oceans of unforgiveness and seas of hurt from unmet expectations. But easy doesn’t get the job done.
It’s in the “Follow Me,” that we find the fork in the road. It’s in the, “Seek first His kingdom” that a decision has to be made – “all or nothing.” Because “all or some” just leaves an incomplete work. “All or some” leaves the option to opt out.
And what if He had committed to “all or some” – He could have, you know – in the middle of any desert temptation, taunting lie, or lash of the whip. He could have opted out. But He – this Finisher and Perfector – He is about a complete work – and the price for that was all – not some.
So, for Him to be able to accomplish His “most” – the decision has to come to hold onto the “least”. Not that He is requiring all of us to sell our possessions – He is requiring a surrendering of our rights to them. And He is not always commanding a sacrifice of our loved ones – He is commanding the sacrifice of our plans for them. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it – to release our rights – give away our plans? But, they weren’t ours to begin with – our ownership is just an illusion – or delusion.
And in the loss of self we find the gain of Him.
For an uncovered heart, on His altar, doesn’t find itself exposed – it finds itself mercifully covered – in Righteousness. And broken can be healed and weak given strength, storms made calm. Making way for His “most” in the giving up of ours.
I hope you listen to this message at www.lifechurch.tv/watch
And I pray the words haunt you – “What still holds me? What still holds me?” It might be painful at first. It might even feel like a sort of death. You might find yourself saying, like me, “You’re killing me, here, Lord, You’re killing me!”
Then I pray you, like me, feel His love smile over you in response…
“Yes. Yes I AM.”
“I want you to know…that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:12, 21