Steven Furtick - Let Go! You’re Not in Control
This is an excerpt from: The Blessing Of Letting Go
For all of the Christian control freaks, which is an oxymoron… "God, I give you my life…as long as I'm married by age 23". "God, I give you my life…as long as this job opportunity opens up in the right market and I like the climate as well as the school educational system". "God, here are our children. We devote them to you. Lord Jesus, I believe she would make a great worship leader in the church, just like that girl Tiffany, and she should sing just like that. I know she's not blond, but we'll dye her hair, Lord, and she can be just like that girl Tiffany. That would be wonderful. But I give them to you, Lord".
So, the interesting thing for me in my life has been how to have a real commitment to Christ without trying to control his will in my life. How to be serious about my relationship with God while staying surrendered to the God I'm in relationship with. This is not as easy as it seems, because you will find yourself often really, really committed to trying to get God to bless you, committed to "I'm really going to get my life together," committed to "I really want to be free from these patterns," committed to "I want to be an example, make a difference, have an influence, make a mark, fulfill a purpose…"
Really committed to that, but then commitment becomes control, and you cannot follow Christ and have control. I'm sorry. I want it to be where you can. I want it to be where Jesus lets you code him, where you get to give him the commands and you get to give him the thing, but every time I read in the Bible, he's giving the commands. Every time in my life he brings me into something new, he takes me through something scary. Every time in my life he sets me free from something I don't want to give me something I do want, I cannot reach toward what he's giving me without letting go of what I held.
There are a lot of us who are not going to get what we need from God in this season until we let go of what we held to in the previous. There are some blessings that only come through holding on. I'm telling you, sometimes you have to get around a promise from God and say, "I don't care how many things blow against it. I don't care how many things shake it up. I don't care how many years pass. I am holding on to what God said". There are blessings that only come from holding on. That's Jacob. He's like, "No, you're not leaving until you bless me. I need a blessing. I've got a fresh battle; I need a fresh blessing. I've got a fresh test; I need a fresh blessing. You are not leaving. I am not going to let you go unless you bless me".
Then God says, "But I cannot bless you unless you let go". Let go of the way you thought it was supposed to go. Let go of your comparison to other standards that have nothing to do with who the sovereign God called you to be. Let go of the expectations of perfection you have for yourself that can only be satisfied through the perfect work of Jesus and is already applied to your account. Let go. There are some blessings you can get by holding on. Oh yeah, Jacob was blessed. His father blessed him. He got the blessing of the firstborn, a double inheritance, the naming rights of the children, the patriarchy of the whole nation. He got blessed by Isaac, but he didn't get blessed yet as who he really was.
So, you say, "Wait a minute. You read me a Scripture, and you said the key to being blessed is holding on". Sometimes that's true, but I want you to read just a little bit farther in this passage and see the real blessing God wants to give you in this season. I believe God has a blessing for you in this season that your eyes haven't seen yet, that your ears haven't heard, that hasn't entered into your hearts, that you will be speaking about for years to come, but watch this. There is a blessing that comes from holding on, persevering. There's a blessing that comes through tenacity. "Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.' But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.'"
Now watch this. On the surface so far it seems like Jacob got this blessing the way he got every other blessing. Maybe right now you're trying to do it like you always did it, and it's not working. You're trying to face it like you always faced it, and it's not working. But watch what the angel said. This is the turning point in this transformative experience for Jacob and for you. "But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.' The man asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he answered. Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.'"
When he said, "What is your name?" it reminds us of 20 years ago, in Genesis 27, when Isaac called his son to bless him. He thought he was talking to Esau, because he was blind. He said, "Who are you?" and the voice came back, saying, "I am Esau," but it wasn't Esau; it was Jacob. In two days, there will be enraged Christians on social media arguing about Halloween. Is it right or is it not right to celebrate Halloween? We will not discuss that in this pulpit today.
That is not the purpose for which God sent me. But I will tell you one thing God is very concerned about. Anytime you dress up as something you're not… Anytime you start putting on clothes, anytime you start putting on personas, anytime you start putting on something that doesn't come from who God made you to be, anytime you start dressing yourself, disguising yourself, trying to gain the acceptance or the approval, it's always a trick, and it's never a treat. God says, "I don't need you to be Esau to bless you, because when I bless you, I'm going to bless you". The real you, the short you, the tall you, the old you, the new you.
God said, "When I bless you, you won't have to pretend about anything. You can just praise me, because I am the source of your strength and the strength of your life". So, Jacob was already blessed, but he didn't know who he was. God said, "After all I've done for you, do you still not know who you are? You're my child". You're the head and not the tail. You're blessed. You are redeemed from the pit. You are blessed. You are chosen and loved as the apple of his eye. You are blessed. You are an overcomer. You are blessed. You are the purchased of God. You are blessed. You are blessed to be a blessing. Now shout like you know who blessed you, because when you know who blessed you, you know who to go back to when you need some more of it. "Hey, God, it's me. It's your boy. It's your daughter. It's your child. I need you".
High-five 11 people and say, "Yes, I'm blessed". "I'm not bragging, but I'm blessed. I'm not perfect, but I'm blessed. I'm not 100 percent honest all the time, but I'm blessed. Let me just be real with you. He has blessed me with every blessing in spiritual places. I've got it in the heavenly realm. Now I've just got to bring it in my life". The Bible says he blessed him there in the place of his real name. Do you know what God wants to give you today? A surrender of who you thought you were so you can receive who you really are. I wonder if anybody is ready to receive who you really are. I've got to warn you. It's not like changing your name to "Hollywood Hogan". It's not like changing your name on wrestling. It's not that kind of wrestling match. Sometimes it is a letting go that feels like death, but it's really a blessing.
I confer upon you today and impart to you in the name of Jesus Christ your Savior the blessing of letting go. Not when you're driving home. That's not the time to let go; that's the time to drive the car. I want to say that there are some of us in here who are saying, "I won't let go until you bless me, God. I won't let go until you bless me". I hear the Holy Spirit saying, "I can't bless you until you let go". Do you hear it? When God showed me that, it was like, "Oh, I don't want to really admit that's the way it works," because this goes against my control freak Christianity that I invented that is nowhere in the Bible.
I want to achieve this thing. I want to earn this thing. That's why God gave us the New Testament example of Paul. He said, "Man, I was stacking stuff I did. I was stacking successes in the spiritual, religious realm that amounted to status you wouldn't imagine. A Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the eighth day. I studied under Gamaliel. What? But all of these things I count as loss. Yet in order to balance these great revelations God gave me, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan sent to buffet me". You'll always have a buff "but" to buffet you, and the bigger the blessing, the bigger the buffet to keep it in balance so you know where your source is. As a matter of fact, Paul said, "I had this thorn in my flesh, and three times I asked God to take it away. Three times I asked God to do it".
Have you been asking God to change something in your life, and he won't do it? This is your verse right here. Second Corinthians 12:9: "But he said to me…" Paul, the great apostle, who took the mission of Jesus Christ to sites that had previously seemed too distant, who spoke with eloquence yet simplicity Christ crucified, but did it in a way that the philosophers were confounded… Paul said, "I was given a thorn in my flesh along with all my blessings. I'm blessed. Don't get me wrong. I saw Jesus on the road to Damascus. I preached with such power that people were converted, that cities went into riot. I was so blessed to be able to do that. Yes, I'm blessed, but I had a thorn. I asked God to take it away, and he said, 'No. But my grace is sufficient.'"
That's the blessing of letting go of the way you thought it was supposed to be. You get the grace to accept what it is. That's where the transformation is. That's where the power is. That's where the revelation is. "What is your name"? He said, "Jacob. I'm not pretending to be something else anymore. I'm not striving to be something anymore. I'm not going to dress up like anything anymore". For all of you who think you need approval from a person, you don't need approval from a person. If the person gives it, the person can take it, but if you get it from God, it can never go away. Let them say what they want, think what they want, do what they want, write what they want, take what they want, leave what they want. I'll never be alone. Not when God is with me. I might look alone, but I'm not alone. The blessing of letting go is grace. Can you imagine?
All your life, like Jacob, you have been running to chase something you thought you needed to be to be successful, that you thought you needed to be to be whole, that you thought you needed to be to be worthy, that you thought you needed to be because your father didn't give it to you, that you thought you needed to be because nobody ever spoke it over you. Can you imagine the moment of release when the angel said, "All I want is you. What's your name"? When you say your name, you receive his nature.