It’s Hard to Let Go

September 15, 2002

IT’S HARD TO LET GO by Ray Pritchard The man and the woman involved in this story don’t know each other and will almost certainly never meet each other. They have nothing in common except that the woman sent me an e-mail (she lives in another country) and the man dropped by to see me this week. Here is part of what the woman wrote: “I really want to experience Freedom and Christ, but for some reason I am not doing it. I am very confused. I sometimes think that his will is too difficult. I don’t even want to know it. I don’t want to picture him as my enemy, or someone who is trying to block my life from happiness. I wish I could trust him.” Earlier she had asked how she could give up control of her life after being controlled by others for so many years. My answer went like this: “All of us end up serving someone. Either we are slaves to sin or we are slaves to Jesus Christ. And there is no third choice. When you become a slave to Jesus, you are then truly free. True freedom comes not in doing your own thing, but in submitting yourself completely to the One who died for you. In that ‘death’ to yourself, you discover freedom to serve the Lord, freedom to choose joy, freedom from bitterness, and freedom from obsessive concern over the affairs of life. It’s a good freedom but you’ll never know it until you submit all that you are to Jesus Christ.” It’s a risky proposition, I know, and not everyone is willing to take that step. The paradox of the Christian life is this: You have to give up control in order to find real freedom. That frightens many people who feel like they have to be in the driver’s seat of life or else someone will take advantage of them. And that’s where the man comes in. He knocked on my door this week and asked if we could talk. “You’ve probably heard this story a million times,” he said. For a long time his spiritual life has been stuck in neutral. He doesn’t read the Bible, doesn’t pray very much. Never doubted his faith, just didn’t take it seriously. But something happened, a scary personal experience that shook him up, a sudden reminder that Satan is on his trail big time. “I never really thought about being against the Lord. I just thought I could stay in neutral like the rest of the world, but I guess that’s not possible,” he said. My friend is right. There is no room for neutrality in the Christian life. If you’re not standing for Jesus, you’re already playing for the other team. No middle ground. If you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward and you don’t even know it. Blessed are those who let Jesus take control. They–and they alone–know true freedom.

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