Learning to Let Go

Just continuing with my thoughts about what it may take to build a strong relationship with God. Relationships experience many tests of which I am choosing to focus on three – the Divine Test, the Sacrifice Test and the Test of Time.

This is my definition of the sacrifice test: it’s about a willingness to let go of that which is most precious to us. The dictionary says that sacrifice is an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

I am learning as I choose to walk with God that it is a difficult test to pass. This is why. I don’t want to give stuff up. I like, enjoy and value it. Maybe it cost me financially or time wise. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense naturally so I just choose to ignore what God is saying. Instead of sacrifice I hold on even more tightly to what I have. However, here’s what I know…

Compromise is not enough.
Giving a little is not enough. 
Bartering with God is not enough.

Reading about Abraham in Genesis and watching him experience this test it always seems somewhat extreme. Surely God didn’t really mean it? Why would he ask someone to lay down his son? The son God promised him? Why be asked to do something that can only be described as the ultimate sacrifice?

Here’s how he passed. Faith. Trust. Knowing God as divine, as provident, as a keeper of His promises. And he didn’t even have the example of Jesus like we do.

God gave. So we give.

God’s love for us was a sacrificial love. Our love therefore should be sacrificial. 

My willingness to sacrifice demonstrates my faith in God.
My willingness to sacrifice evidences my obedience to God.
My willingness to sacrifice aligns me with Gods willingness to sacrifice.
My willingness to sacrifice shows I am happy for my relationship with God to cost something.

No guarantee it won’t be challenging by every guarantee we will be rewarded. Faith pleases God. Obedience pleases God. There is always a cost. God has played His part. We just have to be ready to play ours.

What do we hold too tightly?
Why do we find being obedient in this area of our walk with God so difficult?

Vision Takes Sacrifice

Time.
Effort.
And money.

What ever the vision, there is ALWAYS a cost. Think of ALL those things we take forgranted. Everyday objects. Buildings we admire. People invested in them….TIME, EFFORT & RESOURCES (including money). Some even died for their vision before it was completed.

TIME means sacrificing some of the other things we like to do. Obvious really. It creates space for working on the DREAM. If you won’t give any TIME to it, then IT will never happen.

EFFORT means just that. Blood, sweat and tears. Depending what your vision is….effort means creative thinking, energy, making something happen. Fighting the desire to do nothing and doing something. Effort takes just that, effort. If you won’t give any EFFORT to it, then IT will never happen.

MONEY. Want to lose weight/get fit, going to join the gym, then the vision needs the sacrifice of your money to pay the cost of membership. Money says to vision ‘you can be accomplished’. If you won’t give any MONEY to it, then IT will never happen.

For Xcel Church our vision offering is the opportunity for us as a congregation, the people of God, to make a statement of FAITH and INTENT. That we believe in the vision, want to see it fulfilled and are willing to SACRIFICE for it. TIME & EFFORT though not easy are achievable. MONEY, now that hits harder especially in financially challenging times.

But surely it’s worth it…
Lives changed.
Building church.
Becoming shapers of culture in our community.
Bringers of hope.
Being ‘a city on a hill’.
Displaying the name of Jesus in the right way.
Challenging people’s ideas about Jesus and His church.

As a family we…
…will be giving in FAITH this Sunday
…will be giving with INTENT
…will be giving, praying that God can take what I give and multiply its ability to reach people
…will be giving trusting that God ‘can supply all our needs according to His riches in glory’, that as a family as we ‘seek first the kingdom of God & His righteousness, that all the things [to do with living life] will be added to us’

Maybe I’m being too simplistic. Isn’t that just FAITH.