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Life Principle 19: Holding Too Tightly

Anything you hold too tightly, you will lose.

November 1, 2019

Sermon Outline

In seventeenth century France, a humble church leader named François Fénelon wrote a letter of encouragement to believers who sought spiritual perspective during some discouraging trials. He said,

Do not worry about the future. It makes no sense to worry if God loves you and has taken care of you. However, when God blesses you, remember to keep your eyes on Him and not the blessing. Enjoy your blessings day by day, just as the Israelites enjoyed their manna; but do not try to store the blessings for the future.

Sometimes in this life of faith God, will remove His blessings from you. But remember that He knows how and when to replace them, either through the ministry of others or by Himself. He can raise up children from the very stones.

Eat then your daily bread without worrying about tomorrow. There is time enough tomorrow to think about the things tomorrow will bring. The same God who feeds you today is the very God who will feed you tomorrow. God will see to it that manna falls again from Heaven in the midst of the desert, before His children lack any good thing.

If we lived with faith of this kind, we would stop being so anxious and fretting about all our troubles. Will we humbly depend on God to provide?

Admit it—in a tough situation, your first emotional response is to take control. We all want control. We want to live with the assurance that everything will be okay and that the things that aren’t right can be fixed with concentrated effort. Secretly, we often think, “If I plan carefully and labor enough, I can overcome any difficulty.”

The problem comes when your efforts aren’t enough—the problem you face is greater than all of your resources or completely outside your scope of influence. God allows those trials for an important reason—He wants you to recognize that He is in control. Yet the Lord does not want merely to be the resource you call on when you’re in trouble. God wants to be your all-sufficient Lord and Master, Savior and Friend. He knows you intimately; He formed your very cells and fibers (Ps. 139:13-16); He has a good plan for every day of your life (Eph. 2:10), and He knows how to fulfill His purpose for you (Ps. 138:8).

When you face circumstances that rapidly deplete your spiritual, emotional, and physical reserves, you may want to cling to something strong out of fear. The question you must consider is whether your worries drive you to the arms of God or to your own resources.

Are you hanging on to something other than the Lord? Are you gripping some form of earthly security instead of trusting Him to help you? Remember, whatever you hold too tightly, you will lose. Whatever you are clutching for safety has become an idol to you—regardless of whether it is wealth, your giftedness, relationships, religious rituals, or what have you—and God is not going to allow you to keep it as your source of confidence—a role that rightly belongs to Him. Rather, He will allow it to fail you so you can see that He truly is your sovereign and unfailing Lord.

God longs for you to release yourself into His control and eternal support. He will take care of all that concerns you in the best way possible, and He will also sustain you in the process (Phil. 4:6-7).

When you feel ready to yield wholly to the Lord, Psalm 56 provides a wonderful model prayer: “When I am afraid, I will put My trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (Ps. 56:3-4)

Maybe to this point in your relationship with the Lord you have not experienced a trial so extreme that it caused you to assess the true foundation of your trust. God has blessed you with a time of quiet strengthening.

But understand that He loves you too much to allow you any notions of self-sufficiency. He will test you in time, but always with the purpose of demonstrating His never-ending love.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

This post is a part of the series Life Principles to Live By.

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