Let Go of 3 Things to Grow

Feb 14, 2024

The journey through life is similar to climbing up the face of a mountain. In order to move up the mountain, you’ve got to grab onto the rock above you and pull yourself up. But that requires letting go of the rock you’re currently holding on to. Moving up the mountain is scary because change is scary. Taking hold of a new rock is intimidating. You’re comfortable where you’re at. You’re not too high up, you feel safe. You can choose to stay there, or you can choose to let go and reach up for the next rock. If you don't, you'll get stuck.

Maybe you’re spiritually stuck on the face of the mountain today. You don't want to go back down where you used to be, but you're afraid to keep moving forward because it means letting go and holding onto something new. Life is filled with things that we hold on to and things that we need to let go of. Some things should be held onto forever like our faith in Jesus, our integrity, and our character. But there are things we hold onto that we need to let go of. Things that negatively impact our spiritual growth and prevent us from experiencing all that God has for our life. Like a toxic relationship, a bad habit, or a goal or dream that just doesn’t make sense anymore.

In the Bible, we read about a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, which means he was one of the most educated, wealthy Jews in the upper tier of the class system. Everybody looked to him as a leader. He had the money and the prestige. John chapter 3 tells what happened when Nicodemus met Jesus. He was faced with some decisions and just like us there were things he needed to let go of if he wanted to know Jesus and grow in a relationship with Him.

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5) 

#1 Let Go of Worldly Knowledge and Hold on to the Wisdom of Jesus.

As a Pharisee, Nicodemus was extremely knowledgeable when it came to the Law. He knew the Old Testament. You see, he was a Pharisee. He had a lot of wisdom. He had a lot of knowledge. Some of you have a lot of knowledge. You've got degrees. You're leading an organization or a business. You're doing incredible things. You've got a lot of worldly knowledge that is benefiting you, but when it comes to spiritual things, you're not so wise.

Nicodemus says he knows that Jesus is a teacher from God. But throughout the Bible Jesus does not simply claim to be sent from God, but rather that His is God in human form.

Maybe you’re holding on to a knowledge of Jesus that you learned from a college professor. You've been led down a path of skepticism. You look up to this person because they have letters after their name, and you've been convinced by them. Or maybe you have a knowledge about Jesus that you learned from TV shows and movies. Hollywood teaches us are that dads are idiots, pastors are egomaniacs, and Christians are the source of all the hate and evil in the world. If you see that enough, you become a little skeptical.

Do you hold onto the knowledge from the world on the topic of Christianity and who Jesus is? You’ve got to go to the evidence. Read the four gospels for yourself. Don't just take my word for it, or your parents'. Definitely don't take your college professor's word for it. Worldly knowledge has its place, but there's no place for it, spiritually speaking, when it comes to faith. And so, we’ve got to be willing to let go of the knowledge of the world. 

#2 Let Go of Religion and Hold on to Transformation.

Nicodemus knew all the laws of God and what it meant to live by the rules. The Pharisees had even added hundreds more rules to the list you had to follow in order to be right with God. But keeping rules and living a religious lifestyle doesn’t save you. You need to be transformed, and Jesus calls that being born again.

In one sense, Nicodemus was alive, he was breathing, but in the spiritual sense, Nicodemus was dead. When you are born by your human parents, you are their child, and you share in a human nature. Your first birth makes you alive in a human life. When the spirit of God convicts you of sin and opens up your heart to truly hear the gospel, the moment you put your faith in Jesus, you pass from death to life. You are born again. When you are born again by the Holy Spirit, you become a child of God and now share in God's spiritual nature. Your second birth makes you come alive spiritually. You are transformed.

Most people would admit that they’ve messed up and done wrong. They recognize that there’s a problem but try to solve it by trying harder. Religion says I've got to quit this habit, or I've got to give up this part of my life. But Jesus says, “It's not a part of your life. It's every part of your life.” Jesus doesn’t offering a new religion. He offers a new life. You’ve got to let go of religion and hold on to transformation. You've got to start over; you’ve got to be reborn. 

#3 Let Go of Position and Hold on to Surrender

Thirdly, Nicodemus had to let go of position and hold on to surrender. Think about his current position. If he put his faith in Jesus he'd lose his job. He’d lose his influence, his money, and his friends. He would probably even lose some family members as well. His whole world would be rocked if he put His faith in Jesus. He had to be willing to let go of his powerful position and surrender all that came with it to Jesus.

The same is true for us. Following Jesus might mean you don’t get the promotion or the raise that you deserve. It may mean that you lose some family members, or you can't be friends with certain people anymore. There could be a lot of negative consequences, but are you willing to say yes to Jesus anyway? The truth is, if you surrender to Him and trust Him, He's going to provide you with everything you need now and in the future.

Growth demands that we move forward. If you want life transformation, if you want spiritual growth, you've got to be willing to let go, and you've got to hold on to Jesus. What are you holding onto today that's preventing you from experiencing the spiritual growth that God wants you to experience? Maybe it's just now starting to become clear, the things you need to let go of. Will you choose to let go of them and hold on to faith in Jesus?

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