I tend to hold onto things. Memories. Emotions. Notebooks from classes I took several semesters ago. When I get set on a vision, I rarely stray from it. When I think I know what’s right for me, I don’t compromise. You could say I’m a little stubborn.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. I know what I want and what’s important to me. So why do I often find myself wrenching my closed fists open in prayer? Why do I feel the need to lay it all down, however begrudgingly?
Because the Lord wants us to give up.
He wants us to give up any notion of control we think we have, because He has plans He swears to carry out (Isaiah 14:24). He wants us to give up our ideas of what we think is right for us, because He is powerful and wise beyond us (Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 55:8-11). He wants us to give up our delight in other things, so that our desires are fixed on Him (Psalm 37:4, Matthew 6:33). He wants us to give up our hope in flawed institutions, because the hope He gives is perfect and infallible (1 Peter 1:23). He wants us to give up our fears and frailty because He loves us, and because He is strong enough to save us from them (1 Peter 5:7, Isaiah 59:1). He wants us to give up our very lives to give Him glory (Romans 12:1).
But we don’t just abandon all these things on the side of the road somewhere – we offer them up to Him. We have to trust that what He can give is more satisfying than what we thought we always wanted, and that can be scary. After all, giving up is so contrary to human nature. But, wonder of wonders, He doesn’t rob us of our humanity and leave us empty. This is the joy of salvation – that He makes us new, that we can be complete in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 2:10). To live is Christ, to die is gain.
So let’s just give up. What we gain in the process amounts to so much more.