Yes, I know its Hillsong U lyrics…. 🙂
My spiritual journey could probably be almost completely summed up by the struggle to let go of myself. Self-denial. Self-abandonment. Self-forfeit. The journey towards God always begins with saying “yes” to God, and you cannot say “yes” to God unless you say “no” to yourself. When crowds of people were ecstatic about Jesus’ public healing ministry and eager to hear him teach and perform miracles and follow him, he made it very clear that “whoever wishes to save his life must lose it, and whoever loses his life will find it.”
Thus the journey towards God is one of learning how to let go of your life. Not in a belittling way or in a unhealthy or self-abusive way, but simply embracing an attitude of surrender and learning to view each and every day as a gift. This is the central struggle of life with God. Its why the rich young ruler walked away ‘sad, because he had great wealth,” because when you hold on to the things of this life in pursuit of being happy or feeling fulfilled, sooner or later you will find that those things you pursued in the hopes of being happy didn’t work and you find yourself unhappy.
Happiness cannot be gotten directly, as Timothy Keller puts it. It is always a by-product of seeking something more than happiness.
But I want to be happy! I don’t want to feel unfulfilled! Its right here that so many people get stuck. They go to church, they pray, they read their Bible, they engage in religious duties, they cultivate somewhat of a relationship with God but only because of what they can get from God out of the whole deal. In the end, it is self-fulfilment and happiness … they want God for the stuff he can give them. That’s called religion. The way of Jesus flies in the face of religion… “seek first the Kingdom of God,” he says, “and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you as well.” Happiness or righteousness? Seek righteousness and you’ll get both. Seek happiness and you’ll get neither. “Religious” people want God for the stuff they get in return. Gospel-people want God for God. They simply want to know God, because He is good, not because of what they get out of it in return.
How are we expected to let go of all of our expectations? How can we truly live a life of surrender, enjoying God and rejoicing in the life he’s given us? The secret lies in seeking God for God… in laying down your ambitions, your dreams, and your desires, and serving people who can do nothing for you in return. God is a serving God, who sent his son not to be served but to serve, and to pour out his life for others, and the moment we begin to serve others in secret ways that we will never get recognized for, the deeper into the heart of God our journey begins to take us……..