Jesus is continually inviting you into a life beyond your wildest dreams. If you’re not living it, there’s one reason … you’re holding on to the things that are holding you back. When you’re ready to let go, then God is ready to take you to higher levels, deeper impact, and greater things than your mind has ever dared to imagine.
But, you’re holding on to that which holds you back. What is it Sis?
In scripture there’s a story of a very rich man encountering Jesus. Jesus had an invitation for him, but this man was held back by what he was holding on to, so he never stepped into what was truly possible in his life.
The story is found in Mark 10: 17-22:
“A man came running up to Jesus, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replied, “You know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.”
“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Is Jesus saying you must give away everything to have salvation? No. Is he saying the only way to get into Heaven is to have nothing left? No. Actually, what we are likely missing in this story is Jesus is inviting this rich man to come and be one of his disciples. Come, follow me. Aren’t those the same words he spoke to Peter in his boat? He said to Peter, “come and follow me”, and while Peter didn’t have a lot of possessions to let go of, he did have the catch of a lifetime sitting in his boat.
Remember, Peter had been out fishing all night in Luke 4. He had caught nothing, and as a professional fisherman, that’s a bad night. Then Jesus comes walking up the next morning as Peter is putting away his nets and says “hey, go back on the water and cast your nets one more time.” While that didn’t make any sense, Peter did as Jesus suggested, and proceeded to bring in so many fish, the nets began to break and the boat began to sink. And again, to a professional fisherman, that’s a BIG deal because that’s a big paycheck.
But now, Jesus says “come, follow me” and that means Peter will have to let go of the great success he just hauled in. He accepted the invitation, let go of what could hold him back, and stepped into a life of greater meaning and deeper purpose than he could imagine. I mean really, do you think he would have ever thought he would be the one walking on water with Jesus?
And guess what … he wouldn’t have been the one walking on water with Jesus if he would have held on to that successful catch. He had to let it go to follow Jesus.
So back to our original story, the rich man who has so many possessions, standing before Jesus receiving an invitation to be one of his disciples. Jesus says “sell it all, then give away the rest and come follow me.” But that was too much for him. He was willing to follow the rules. He was willing to obey the commandments. But he couldn’t let go of his treasures, so he missed his opportunity.
What could this man have done with Jesus? I mean if Peter, the fisherman walked on water with Jesus, what could this successful businessman have done with Jesus? What could he have built? What could he have created that we would still be using today? What potential did God place within him that never came to fruition because he wasn’t willing to let go of the things that held him back?
The rich man had to give up his possessions. Peter, the fisherman, had to give up his biggest, best catch ever. What is Jesus asking you to give up to really come follow him?
We’re all holding on to something, and whatever we’re holding on to may just be what is holding us back. Jesus wants us to live FREELY without constraint, but the things we hold on to act as chains holding us back, keeping us from the freedom of fully living. Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Christ set you free to live a free life. And anything you can’t let go of is holding you back.
Can’t you hear Jesus saying, “drop that and let’s go.” Drop what? What do you need to drop?
For me to live in freedom, I was much like the rich man with many possessions, I had to let go of everything I had worked so hard to buy. Piece by piece, I sold the furniture that was once on my vision board. We turned over the keys of the dream home we had built with the in-ground trampoline and pool with waterfall in the backyard. Then I had to let go of the successful business we had worked so hard to build and step into the unknown with no paycheck, no insurance, and no clue what I was doing.
But, this is where Jesus was calling me, and I had to let go of everything that was holding me back. A successful business, a paycheck, a big beautiful house, and all my pretty things … none of those things are bad, but for me, they were standing in the way of fully following Jesus where he wanted to lead me.
I had become a slave to my work. I had become a slave to my big house which I could barely keep up with. I had become a slave to buying more and more to make it look better and better. And being a slave to anything doesn’t work for Jesus. He will call you away from that in an instant!
What are you a salve to, my sister?
Are you a slave to the stories you tell yourself? A slave to past mistakes and regrets? A slave to bad habits and bad attitudes? A slave to generations of ‘that’s the way it’s always been, so that’s the way it will always be’? Oh girl … Christ came to set you free so he’s going to ask you to drop all of that!
It’s the good stuff and bad stuff alike that we hold on to. It’s the stuff we can’t imagine living without, it’s the stuff we’ve worked our whole life to get, and it’s the stuff we hate but we’re so darn used to living with it we don’t know how to live without it. All that stuff is holding you back, and Jesus is standing here saying, “come, follow me.”
Where? Well I don’t know exactly, but it’s leading to your destiny. It’s a path to tap into your deepest, greatest potential. You’re going to want to go there, but you’re not going to know where ‘there’ is while you’re standing here being held back by what you’re holding on to.
You know, the funny thing about the things we hold on to, they hold on to us even more. They have a grip on you that is restricting your freedom and limiting your reach. And this is the very thing Christ came to set you free of.
What is it? You can’t follow Jesus into the fullness of life he has available to you if you keep holding back what he is asking you to let go of.
For me, the process of letting go started with one small step. Over 10 years ago, I created a challenge to find one material object you really loved, and give it to someone you know would like it. For me, it was the silliest thing. It was a 4 tier serving tray with wrought iron and white plates that sat on my kitchen island. I loved that thing. It wasn’t crazy expensive, but every time I saw it in my kitchen it was as if I had “arrived” to the destination of success I had always dreamed of. And then I knew, that was what I was supposed to give away.
My friend Laura had commented several times how much she liked it. So one day, I drove to her house, knocked on her door, and delivered my treasured serving tray to her. I was literally choked up. I had to let it go. That day I returned home with a freedom in my spirit I had never felt before. That freedom led to letting the next thing go, then the next, and the next.
Eventually, the house, a car, a few boats, every piece of furniture, along with the majority of my clothes, have all passed through my hands and into the hands of others. We have none of it now. Possessions aren’t bad, but for us, God was calling us to a life that couldn’t be held back by “things”, so we would be free to go. Go to new places to meet new people. Go experience new things to invite others to join us. We had to go, and we couldn’t go with all we had.
So, you start small. What do you think you’ve been holding on to that is holding you back? Could you challenge yourself to let go of a little piece of that, then check to see if your spirit feels more free?
Let go of a little piece of that responsibility you’ve been taking on at work. How does that feel?
Let go of one of the stories you’ve been telling over and over again. How does that feel?
Let go of one thing you’ve always believed you couldn’t do and give it another try. How does that feel?
Jesus is saying “come, follow me” … what will you need to let go of so you can go? What are you holding on to that’s holding you back? Loosen your grip Sis, I promise it’s worth it!