September 22, 2013
Is There Anything We Can't Let Go Of?
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions
God alone is to be worshiped, and we must make sure nothing else takes God’s place within our hearts. Surrounded with so many things that attract our devotion, it is not easy to love God with a pure, wholehearted devotion. But this is the very thing we must learn to do.
Even Abraham, the very father of the faithful, had to be taught to surrender his heart completely to God. As Isaac, the beloved son of Abraham’s old age, began to mature, God saw that Abraham’s attachment to Isaac was growing deeper by the day. Abraham needed to be tested. He needed to be taught that, if necessary, he could do without . . . yes, even Isaac, the dearest blessing he’d ever received from God. “Take now your son,” God said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). Though his hand was stayed at the last moment from actually taking Isaac’s life, the agony through which Abraham had passed to get to that point had taught him that none of God’s gifts must ever be allowed to occupy the place in our hearts reserved for the Giver alone. Whatever we hold on to besides God must be held loosely.
As our Creator, God is unique. We have a need for God unlike our need for any other thing that exists. God is the only being we have to have, the only thing we can’t do without. We are to be inseparably devoted to God alone; God is to be our only real “possession.” All other things must be loved with a love we can let go of, and if our attachment to anything other than God is so strong that we can’t let go of it, then that thing, whatever it is, has become an idol to us. Yet God loves us too much to leave us where we are. The “trials and tribulations” that break our hearts are often the providence through which God is teaching us that God is, in fact, the only One we can’t do without. Although painful, this is the best thing that can happen to us.
The dearest idol I have known, Whate'er that idol be, Help me to tear it from thy throne, And worship only thee.