One of our New Year’s goals as a church leadership is to encourage our church family and friends through a blogpost that builds the spiritual frame of the house that God is building at NorthCreek. Growing in Christ is an intentional work of the Holy Spirit where we engage and agree with what God wants to do in and through us. Every month we’ll have a different emphasis and the emphasis for the month of January is the spiritual grace of letting go or releasing things to God.
2 years after I was married I had a significant spiritual experience. I was in prayer and said, “God, I want less of me and more of you.” It’s a prayer many people pray not fully comprehending the consequences of our petition! Neither do we expect an immediate answer! I’m not one to say that God speaks to me through an audible voice, but, if there was a next step down from that, I experienced it. What I heard in my heart was, “You can’t. Unless you eliminate something.” I wasn’t quite sure I understood, so God brought to mind a large pot of melted metal. “Your pot is already full. Unless you pour something out, there’s no room for Me.”
I wonder if you’ve ever prayed a similar prayer: “God I want more of You. I want to see life the way You see it. I want to be like You.” It’s a faith-filled prayer, but one that requires a specific response. I needed to give up or let go of some habit in my life to have more of God. In my case, I decided to go after the biggest lion in my life: sports. I was a sports nut. I played sports. When I wasn’t playing, I was watching it on TV. When I wasn’t watching, I was reading the sports page. When I wasn’t doing any of those, I was listening to sports radio. When I wasn’t doing that, I was talking about it. So, the next day, I decided to pick a fight with the biggest lion in the jungle (my idol) and give it all up cold turkey. People thought I had lost my mind. I thought I had lost my mind! But by faith, I did it anyway.
I remember praying, “but God, how do I stop loving something?” “Just ask Me to help Gary. That’s it.” I literally asked God to take away my desire for sports, even though it was part of my identity, even though there is really nothing intrinsically wrong with it, and even though people thought I was crazy. The unexpected answer to my prayer was that God, the very next day, took away my desire to do all those things I thought I could never give up. He took away my obsession with sports. With God’s strength I did it and He filled the empty space in my life with other meaningful things that included Him. I was a slave to sports and didn’t know it. I thought it was just a hobby. But it was an idol wrapped up a jersey. The most camouflaged idols are the ones we react to most violently to the thought of giving up.
January is a new year and a month for re-evaluating our lives. If you want more of God, consider pouring something out of your life to have God pour more of Himself into you. The amazing thing is a few years later, God gave me back my passion for sports, only now it wasn’t an idol, it was just a thing I could take or leave. Letting go, pouring out, or releasing something you cherish might be the most joyful thing you do this week.
NorthCreek Church exists to encourage people to take their right next step in their spiritual journey. Join us Sunday mornings at 10am and community groups throughout the week to go further faster in your relationship with God!