Have you ever held onto something so tightly and were afraid to let go, or felt you did not deserve to let it go? I have. Jobs, ministries, hobbies, loved ones. I’ve worked hard for the things I have in my life. And God has given me desires and abilities that I am so thankful for. But ALL that I have, everything that I own or love, has been given to me by God. It all belongs to Him.
I have heard the still, small voice of the Lord ask me on more than one occasion to give something up, set something aside, or to stop doing something, if even for a season. My response has often been, “But Lord, you’ve given this to me. Surely you are not asking me to give it back?” I am often quick to assert my rights and remind the Lord that it was He who called me to this ministry in the first place, or that it was Him who gave me the ability to do what I do. I’ve been known to hold onto something so tightly only to have it pried from my hands (or taken by force). Or, I’ve thought I’ve given something up willingly, only to walk away feeling defeated, hopeless and depressed. I may have surrended it back to the Lord, but my heart was still holding on. In those times, I’ve realized that my identity was more wrapped up in what I had or did than in the One who created me and gave me these things in the first place. My identity comes from Christ and Him alone. I am nothing without Him, and I am everything because of Him.
As a Christian, we can sometimes feel as if we have certain rights and/or privileges. The truth is, we don’t. As a daughter of the King of Kings, we are called to give up all that we have, to follow Christ.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)
Everything that I have belongs to God. I must posture my heart in such a way to receive from God with an open hand. That means that everything that I receive from God remains in an open hand. It can be given back to Him at any time. He does not have to come and pry my hands open to take back what rightfully belongs to Him. I offer it up willingly. I claim no right to it. I give it all up, denying my wants, needs and desires to follow Him. By following Him, I know that He will give back to me all that I need to fulfill His purpose here on this earth.
It is only when I am able to surrender my heart, not just my stuff, that God can truly bless me. It’s not good enough that I am willing to give God back all that He’s given to me. But He wants my heart, postured in an attitude of surrender, receiving my blessings, gifts and talents from Him with an open hand, at all times.
What are you claiming rights to that God is asking you to willingly give back to Him?