By Melissa McLaughlin
One of the greatest gifts someone can give is the gift of letting go. When my husband and I were first married, we bought a fixer-upper home. The property was run down, the ramshackle house was lined with dingy green walls, the floors brittle and worn. But, oh how we loved that old place! Though it was hard work, it was rewarding work. Each night when we arrived home, we gobbled down a quick bite to eat and started right in working on home repairs and home maintenance. Removing wallpaper, spackling, sanding, painting, ripping up old flooring and putting down new. Tearing down old sheds and planting new trees. Removing old roofing materials and laying a new roof. New drywall, new windows, new doors, new plumbing, new fixtures. You name it, we tackled it. In all fairness, my husband was the actual repair person. I was an enthusiastic helper when possible and an innocent bystander when not possible, cheering him on with all my strength.
We poured so much blood, sweat, tears, money and sore muscles into that home and property. In time it became an extension of us, our personalities, our tastes and our very lives.
However, the time passed quickly and we soon welcomed our two precious daughters into the world. What unending joy flooded our hearts! The house truly became a home when little hands and feet scurried about filling the rooms with the sounds of laughter, Bible school songs and make-believe dances inspired by a combination of favorite animals and The Nutcracker ballet.
Before long, we realized this beloved home, in which we had expended so much of ourselves building and rebuilding, was not really well suited to raising children. We lived on a very busy street with cars zipping past at high speeds. Although our home was situated on a fair sized piece of property, the house itself was located just off the street. Unfortunately, adding to this dilemma was our isolation. There were no families or playmates any reasonable distance from our home.
After much prayer and deliberation, we decided to sell our home and purchase a home in a family-friendly neighborhood that would provide a safer place to play and easier connections with other families and children. So, we packed up and moved across town. The girls were excited to move as they did not have deep attachments to the house that we had grown to cherish through the memories held there. The day we moved, my husband and I carried mixed feelings, both delight and sadness, as we had to let go of something that represented a whole chapter of our lives never to be reopened again.
The Gift of Letting Go
That was a gift we gave our children. The gift of letting go. The letting go of our work. The letting go of our memories. The letting go of our attachments.
The letting go however, provided our kids with a yard where they could run freely and not worry about high speed cars racing down our street. We enjoyed sweet times with our children in this new place. They could walk a short distance down the sidewalk and find a friend to play with. They could ride bikes, roller skate and pull their wagon back and forth in peaceful bliss. Here we also found the room to adopt our son and so expanded the joy of our hearts, our family and our home in ways we could not have imagined before. The letting go gave us blessings beyond our hopes. Letting go, though not easy, has a way of enlarging us.
Our experiences of letting go, however, are so small when compared to the letting go of Jesus.
We know that He laid down His life for us on the cross, where He paid the penalty for our sins with His own sinless life. We know that Jesus cried out to the Heavenly Father when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane awaiting this moment as we read His prayer in Matthew 26:36-39 – Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Jesus Bore our Sins
From Bob Deffinbaugh of Bible.org we read, “No wonder our Lord was ‘sorrowful and troubled’ (Matthew 26:37), and His soul was ‘overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death’ (Matthew 26:38). Jesus’ agony was due to the cross which loomed before Him. He was not in agony because He would be forsaken by men, but that He would be forsaken and smitten by God. Jesus was dreading, suffering in the anticipation of His bearing of the sins of the world and the wrath of God which they deserved. This text tells us that because Jesus bore the wrath of God (the “cup,” as it were) in the sinner’s place, it is not necessary for men to drink this cup as well. Salvation comes when a person comes to faith in Christ as the One who was innocent, and yet died in their place, bearing the wrath of God which their sins deserved. Those who reject Christ and His atoning sacrifice must bear the wrath of God, which will be poured out on unbelievers in the future.”
Gratefully, Jesus, endured the cross, scorning its shame and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God! Hebrews 12:2
His suffering is our comfort. His bitter cup is our deliverance. His letting go and laying down is our salvation.
However, as we trace this line of suffering back even further, we realize that Jesus was willing to let go of not only His earthly life and His perfect sinless nature, but He also let go of His Godly form and His place in heaven to win us for heaven.
We see clearly from the Bible that Jesus was part of the Trinity, or Triune God, from before all time, explained here in Christianity.org, by Ray Prichard. In his article, Ray describes the Trinity based on the Calvary Memorial Church Articles of Faith as follows: We believe that the one God eternally exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, co-equal and co-eternal, having precisely the same nature and attributes, and worthy of precisely the same worship, confidence, and obedience.
Adding to this, Bible verses that are self-explanatory in this regard include:
John 8:58 – “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
John 14:11 – Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
When we visualize Jesus, side by side with the Father and Holy Spirit, in the heavenly realms in beauty, power and majesty beyond all of our understanding, we cannot imagine letting go of such eternal goodness and pleasure in order to save us. He hid His deity, wrapped Himself in a cloak of humanity and walked among the dust, sweat, blood, tears, sorrow and pain of this world to show us what God is like.
Philippians 2:5-11 – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus Let Go of Heaven
Jesus’ first act of letting go was leaving the glory of those heavenly realms and the sweet intimacy with His loving Father. Though Jesus was fully God and fully man, His first act of letting go also included giving up His God-form or God-likeness for us.
Considering all Jesus has done for us, what might we let go for Him? Are we attached to things of this world that hold us back from our most important attachment, Jesus? Are there relationships that are holding us back from God? Are there materials possessions that are hindering our closeness with the Father? Are we spending time in jobs, ministries, hobbies or opportunities that are not fully aligned with His Word or are not His highest calling for us?
Jesus did not cling to heaven.
Jesus let go of heaven to win us for heaven.
Jesus did not cling to the form of His Godliness.
Jesus gave up His heavenly form to be Immanuel, God with us.
Jesus did not cling to His power or rightful righteous heavenly place.
Jesus hung on the cross, bearing our sin and shame.
Jesus let it go.
Yet with all this, mankind still clings to its earthly riches.
Lord, have mercy on us. Help us let go.
Please join me in prayer that we relinquish ever more of our hearts, minds and lives to Christ, yielding every ounce of the resources we have been given. Our heart, soul, mind and strength. Our health, money, home, time, relationships, opportunities, skills.
Dear Heavenly Father, we praise Your name for You are holy, sovereign, powerful and true. We thank you for Jesus and His great letting go. We thank you for the letting go He demonstrated by coming to earth and the letting go of His earthly life, carrying the cross, bearing the weight of our sins and suffering the righteous wrath that was our due. As we gaze upon Jesus, the Champion of our souls, we invite your Holy Spirit to reveal to us places where we need to let go of our hold on this life that we may grasp onto You more tightly instead. Draw our thinking, draw our hearts, draw our wills ever closer to You through Your Word, the Bible, through the beauty of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Melinda V. Iman writes many inspirational books and articles to strengthen and deepen your faith and understanding of Christ. In this article, No One But Jesus Would Do This by Melinda V. Inman, she adds scriptural background to the many layers of Jesus’ sacrifices. Read and be blessed!
Holding Loosely By Melissa McLaughlin
Thought provoking stuff! Thank you for sharing Melissa!
Thank you for stopping by and reading! I appreciate your kind support. God bless!
You’re welcome! I nominated you for something!
Thank you for your kindness! You are such a blessing! Please forgive me if I fall behind a bit now and then. I can’t seem to keep up with everyone here. I look forward to reading your posts and finding out more!
I pray in agreement with that, amen! God bless you Melissa!
God bless you, Ryan! Thank you for joining me in prayer!
Amen. Letting go can come in many ways. From letting go of old hurts to letting go of possessions, there are blessings to be found in each situation.
Thank you for mentioning the many ways we can let go. Letting go of past hurts is a big one and not easily done! But what a blessing when we do release it all to Jesus. God bless you!
I was thinking along those lines as well. Though the main theme of this post was that Jesus let go of the positives of what was rightfully his to save us, the post also got me to thinking about how powerful it can be when we let go of an old hurt and so give freedom to the one who hurt us.
This is so beautiful! You captured Jesus’ letting go with all its promise, emotion, agony, and release. What a wonderful Savior! Thank you for this. I read it, breathless to discover what mysterious gem you would uncover. This is the mystery hidden in plain sight since the Fall. Jesus’ sacrificial, obedient, powerful, and submissive to the Father personality is so winsome!
Thank you, Melinda, for your kind encouragement! Of course, your article “No One But Jesus Would Do This” is the scriptural anchor for this post. I thank you for your Bible-based books and articles that inspire and strengthen my faith. My husband recently made a comment in passing that went something like, “Jesus gave up His Godliness but man won’t give up his riches.” It stuck in my heart and my mind. As I prayed about that comment, it took the shape of this post. Thanks to Edna’s suggestions, I am trying to be careful with my wording, so I tried to explain this concept while still making clear that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Certainly, while He was here on earth, He did not stop being God, but gave up the glory that rightfully belongs to Him while here. Thank you for reading and sharing my joy in the amazing love, sacrifice and obedience of Jesus. Indeed, nothing could be more winsome! Bless you, Melinda!
Thank you for linking my post here. I was so focused on your words that I forgot to mention it earlier. You did a great job with this comparison. I find your writing quite beautiful, and your husband’s words coupled with your object lesson of working on your first home together really painted a clear and moving word picture. Thank you for this!
Thank you, Melinda, for being so kind to me. You are an amazing person!
Melissa, you’re my sister in Christ and a very talented fellow writer. You’ve been a great encouragement, and your words have challenged and blessed me. I’m thrilled to be laboring for Jesus alongside you, a kindred spirit and a kind woman. Your engender kindness in others. I’m happy to know you.
Melinda, I am so humbled, for I know your exceptional gifts and talents in writing. It is my great honor to write alongside you, for you spur me on in my faith and work for the Lord. I know you are coming up to the finish line for your sequel to the book “No Longer Alone”, so I don’t even know how you have the time or energy to hold your eyelids open to read anything else! As kindred spirits may we continue to encourage and lift one another as we journey on toward Jesus. May the Holy Spirit light your mind and words with His fire as you write today!
Amen. And for you as well!
Thank you for your post! I am also amazed that He would leave heaven and come down and live on the earth for us! What a model He is and what a gift He gave us!
Hi Valerie, what a gift! Jesus is a gift beyond imagining! I feel like there is always more to discover about Jesus. The more I read the Bible and consider more deeply who Jesus is and what He has done, the more there is to behold. Thank you for reading and commenting. God bless!
Dear Melissa, as I lean into Jesus, I guess I never counted the ways He let go for us. I am still in awe of His infant self, a most holy priest a baby. Thank you for these words, which to me were an invitation to lean in closer, close enough maybe to hear.
Dear Julie, it seems to me we could never reach the end of the vast love of Jesus. The more we ponder and seek Him in His Word, the more love, grace and power there is to find. Thank you for helping me to lean in closer and closer. Close enough to hear the whisper of His still small voice. Bless you!
Inspiring, Christ affirming post, Melissa. Thank you for sharing your faith, your compassion, your humble righteousness and kind example. Thank you for sharing your understanding of Jesus with me.
Pam, thank you for taking the time to read and share your feedback. You are such an encouragement to me. I pray that all eyes would see Jesus through any small thing I may have to say. For He is worth more than all the words I could ever compose. God bless you, Pam!
Great post. Your example opened up my eyes to what you were saying about what God gave up for us. Thank you so much!
Praise God! I asked God to help me write and give me an example. So I thank Him for helping us all. Bless you!
Oh yes, Jesus bore so much for us. And it is so humbling to think of all that He let go of to come here to be with us, to love us, and to take the punishment that should have been ours. Such precious thoughts, when I begin to feel that I have given up so much, it doesn’t even compare to His great gift for us. May I allow myself to come fully under His precious authority. Blessings to you!
Amen and amen! Bettie, you voiced my thoughts and my prayers. The more layers we peel back of Jesus’ love, the more we find. His love is unfathomable. Your heart for the Lord is so beautiful!
This is touching Melissa. Thank you! I feel more ready to let go of some things (that I should have already) after reading this.
May God continue to help us lay aside those things that keep us back from Him! Thank you for reading and sharing, Christy! Bless you!
Thank you for stopping by, Ray! Blessings!
Hi Melissa, I see that you are a teacher. Would you be able to help me teach my 6 year old her sight words? Flashcards isn’t working or isn’t fun, I guess. I’m not sure what teaching background you have, but I thought I’d try asking you. I have no teaching but I really want to help her and dont know how. Shes on her second year of kindergarten and she’s coming along better than last year…
Yes, I would be happy to help. Could you please send me your email? You could use my Contact page to send it.
Just wondering if you have any ideas or online resources I could use…
Yes, I can email you links of teaching tools I would recommend. Please send your email. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Good stuff Melissa,
I started a post for yesterday that I wasn’t comfortable putting out there yet, I will hold on to it in my drafts for someday, but it was dealing with Jesus’ feelings while approaching the cross. It is a hard subject when we start talking about 100% God, and Yet 100% man. Both aspects are so important. Thank you for talking about a difficult subject well and relating it to the letting go process we can all identify with.
Thank you for reading and commenting! You are right, it is so difficult to capture something that we cannot fully imagine – fully God and fully man. I understand completely the need to put things to rest, pray and wait. I’m sure there is much, much more that could be considered as Jesus approached the cross. I look forward to the thoughts you will share when you decide to post your article. Blessings!
Thanks Melissa. Very kind of you. Good post.
This theme of letting go and of change are recurring to me this week. I think there is something in this that Jesus really wants me to take to heart. Great joy and freedom can be found in letting go.
You’re words ring true! When we are letting go of something from this world so we can cling to Jesus and His truth, His Word, it is always freeing. Like we broke free from the grip of this world. I love it when God speaks the same message to us in different ways. May He continue to bless and keep you!
I enjoyed this new perspective, thanks.
Thank you, Tamika, for reading and commenting. May God bless you!
I am very grateful for your description of the Trinity and Jesus letting go of that intimacy in the glory of heaven to become fully man and fully God. As you have so eloquently describe the sacrifices we make on behalf of our children are but a small tast.
Elaine, I thought it was exciting that the Holy Spirit led us to both write about the Trinity around the same time! The Trinity is a complex truth to explain, as is the truth that Jesus was fully God and fully man. May we continue to seek the ever unfolding beauty of God’s truth as we study His eternal Word, the Bible. Blessings!
Great stuff. I wonder how each of us would grow in the way of Christ if we could loosen our grips instead of clinging to things, statuses, and other things of the like. The early Christians could be joyful in times of persecution and poverty, yet I have an existential crisis when I can’t find a decent parking place. 😂
Adam, thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate your kind words. It’s true, we cling to small earthly matters and worldly opinions so easily. In the end, we need the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word as written in the Bible. This world and all its fleeting opinions and attachments will only leave us in shifting temporary sand. As Jesus said in these verses:
Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 24:35 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
God bless you.
Such beautiful thoughts and words on what Jesus let go to gain heaven for us. I loved how you used the story to perfectly illustrate what it is like to let go. Thanks for sharing your story.
Yvonne, thank you for your kind support and for your faith, life and writing which is helping me grow in my understanding of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, according to the truth of the Bible. The more we gaze upon the sacrificial love of Jesus found in the pages of the Bible, the more beauty we can find. I pray I can let go more and more and instead cling more completely to Him. He is worth it all.
The art of letting go teaches us a simple, yet not an easy lesson about life.
It’s often said that the life of Jesus is the greatest paradox in the world, and I believe it’s try. It’s not possible for me to understand why I did go through all that suffering for us.
The main argument that makes me want to make a difference by sharing the gospel is the fact that it urges us to put God, and almost just as important other people before us. That is, as I see it the recipe for a better life.
I join you in your prayer!
Dear Edna, I appreciate your thoughtful words and your prayers! Truly, Jesus is a great paradox of perfect holiness and sacrificial love. The more I meditate on who Jesus is and what He has done as recorded in the Bible, the more I am in awe of Him. I agree, the recipe for a better life is putting Him first in all things and in every way, yes even above our closest loved ones. Praying I can love Him more and more.
With love, Melissa
I’m in on that 🙂
So beautiful and powerful, Melissa. Many wonderful thoughts here. Love the analogy of your house.. “The letting go gave us blessings beyond our hopes.” Then as you related the letting go principle to Jesus letting go of His home in heaven, my heart soared. There is power in letting go. Letting go of what keeps us from God’s better. Un-attaching ourselves to anything but Christ. Hallelujah!
Thank you, Karen, for reading and adding your insights! “Un-attaching ourselves to anything but Christ. Hallelujah!” I sing Hallelujah with you today and pray that God will continue to break any ties that bind me away from Him! Bless you!
I’m here again to make another comment. I really love this post. I was thinking about this all-important passage in Philippians 2 that you mention. This glimpse into what Jesus did as an example for us: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Can you imagine what would happen in our relationships, if we actually placed one another ahead of our own needs to the degree that Jesus did? Now, obviously, we live in a day where we’re learning about healthy boundaries and realizing who is narcissistic in their attempts to control others, etc., and Jesus definitely knew how to handle those kind of people. He, as God, wasn’t taken in by them for a moment. The Pharisees never controlled him, even when deciding to crucify him. That was Jesus’ will for the events of the day – why he came to earth. In fulfilling his mission, he submitted to horrible treatment and to coming down here to dwell with us in the first place.
At times we’re called to make those kinds of sacrifices. Think of when a newborn joins our family. We make continual sacrifices day in and day out for months. Think of the relationship with our spouse. Serve. Humble yourself. We often think, if you do this then I’ll do that. But, what if the other person doesn’t do what we think they should do? Are we relieved of continuing to love them, are we relieved of doing what is right? Do we stop doing our part? No! We should make it our aim to love like Jesus, to not give up on the other, to extend ourselves above and beyond. This model here from our Lord is priceless.
Melinda, I am always moved by your words and insights. Thank you for sharing. Christ’s model is truly priceless. I appreciate you pointing out that Jesus was not confronted with any issues of inappropriate boundaries, as He was God in human form. However, we do need to be aware of that reality, being only human ourselves. Still, there is much we can do to become more like Him by humbling ourselves as a servant among the people in our lives. Lord, enlarge our hearts and deflate our egos, we pray!
Wow – enlightening, inspiring and challenging all in one post. Great work Melissa.
Even though I’ve let go of adult children as they married and took control of their own lives – let go of a family home of 23 years full if stuff to move – let go of friends and family who have died and let go of dreams and hurts it made no sense to carry any more – nothing equates to what Jesus gave for you, me and all His creation.
Your challenge – what would I / what would I not give up in response? I know what the right answer is while there remains a fight with / tug from parts of my character and human life.
I pray the Holy Spirit continues His work in this incomplete mortal.
Bob, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! There is much letting go to be done in our lives and you have captured much in your description. As you say, of course, there is always more. Slowly, I can see the Holy Spirit loosening my sticky fingers from my grip on this world. I must say it is painful, but Jesus is more beautiful and it helps me to see that more clearly. Bless you!
Oh this is so beautiful. I love how you compare the letting go of your home for your children to Christ’s letting go of his privileges for us. From the first word to the last, this post had me by the heart. Thank you!
Thank you, Stephanie, for your kind support!
May God be praised, for any words I am able to put together! It is hard to imagine a sacrifice as great as Jesus’. May we always be in awe of Him and His terrible, beautiful sacrifice for us. Bless you!
I enjoyed this post, Melissa. We have not moved since our kids we’re born so we may never have to ‘let go’ in that sense. But we are learning to let go of our oldest who is now out of the house and at the beginning of his career. We’re learning to trust God to keep him close to Himself and to make good choices in all the aspects of adulthood. Thanks for writing.
God bless you, Stephen! Thank you for taking time to read and comment. Great example from your family life. In each case of letting go, you are right, we must trust God to do what only He can.
I really like this, Melissa. I haven’t thought about the concept of Jesus letting go of things, but you’re right. A life of submission is one of ambivalence to the things we think, feel, have and do. Holding those things loosely gives us the freedom to go where God is directing us.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback, Chip! I’m praying, as you say, to hold loosely onto everything in my life, for love of Jesus. Bless you!