Sometimes it helps to sit still in the Lord’s presence and ask Him what needs surrendering. It could be that you don’t know what is wrong with you. You may feel far away from God and not know why. Ask Him. You may find that He’ll show you something you are holding back. When I first came to know the Lord, I used to hear a lot of talk about backsliding. I had a mental picture of a slide and myself on it sliding out of God! But I do not believe you can slide out of God. The Scriptures say, “You have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). You are secure.
So what does backsliding mean? I believe it means “back holding.” It is terribly possible to hold things back from God—things we know we should yield to Him. Do you ever feel as if you are clutching something? I know I do. If it is something I should let go of, I will pry my fingers, one by one, off that thing or person if I give Him permission. As you learn to hold things lightly and not tightly, peace will come. But remember that there is no peace without surrender.
It is a funny thing, but when I think of all the things God has pointed out to me over the years—things I needed to place on the altar—the hardest things to release have not been the bad things but the good things. The blessings of this life can become idols, almost without our knowing it. In fact, so often the only way we become aware that a blessing has become an idol is a lack of peace.
When Stuart and I were raising our children, we immigrated to America. The time came for them to go to college. I found myself facing an empty nest. Not only that, but people began to ask me to speak and write on the subject. I didn’t want to, one reason being that I was struggling with it. I had believed that I had “held the children lightly, not tightly,” yet I certainly had no peace.
I took some time out to pray about it. “Lord,” I complained, “they don’t need me anymore.” I needed to be needed, and I wasn’t! So I sat still a long time until I figured out what was the matter with me. I needed to place my “need to be needed” on the altar. I had to give up my insistence on the kids’ dependence on me. The Lord told me I was not giving up my relationship with my young adult children; rather, I was giving up my dependence upon their dependence! Sitting there in that quiet place, I understood why my peace had disappeared. My children had become my idols. A couple lines of a hymn came to mind:
The dearest idol I have known,
What’re that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
Once again I had to repair my altar, then make the sacrifice. Once again the peace came.
What things are you holding back from God? Let Him pry your fingers off so you will experience the freedom that comes with surrender!
In His Joy,
Just Between Us Magazine