Letting Go, for God’s Sake

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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“So whatever you eat or drink, whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

President John F. Kennedy’s famous remark, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” has morphed in popular Christianity to, “Ask not what God has done for you; ask what you can do for God”—the unconscious mantra of Christian spirituality and the Christian life. One only needs to peruse the local Christian bookstore to see ample evidence of this, or attend one of my classes at Azusa Pacific University where the overarching concern of most of my students is how to become “better” Christians.

This trend is nothing new. We humans are by nature industrious creatures, largely defined by what we do and how well we do it. The popular sentiment that we are more “human doings” than “human beings” is sadly correct, which makes the move to works righteousness (the idea that one earns his salvation) a small step. But of course we can do nothing to earn our salvation.

The single hardest thing for Christians to do is not to figure out how to better love God, but how to better let God love them. Our purpose in life as disciples of Jesus, if we can distill our various callings to one salient point, is best stated in the first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

The catechism goes on to explain that glorifying God lies principally in offering Him praise, being in His presence, and being conformed to His likeness. A causative relationship, in other words, binds the first and second clauses in the catechism’s answer. To glorify God is to enjoy him, and we only truly enjoy something out of a sense of gratitude—not from blind obedience. We love God by being thankful for who He is and for all that He has already done for us. We don’t accomplish this by white-knuckling our obedience through Bible study, prayer, and Christian charity. You will remember that gritting of teeth, or gnashing if you prefer the King James Version, only happens in hell.

A serious student of the Bible may object at this point. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). The irony, of course, is that the way we can most love God is by allowing him to love us. We love God best by simply being in his presence, as Mary was when Jesus came to visit her and her sister Martha.

Letting go and letting God, another hackneyed phrase in Christian circles, is nonetheless correct. It is the principle object of the Christian life—and the gigantic secret of the Christian. So for God’s sake, let go.