My granddaughter Mackenzie is enamored with the Disney movie Frozen. She loves to sing and dance along with the princess’s song – Let It Go. She knows all the words and the motions, which is quite an accomplishment for a three and a half-year-old. I’ll add in a grandpa kind of way that her performance is very cute. Of course she’s cute anyway, but even more so as she sings and twirls with the song. To be honest, I haven’t seen the movie, I know a little bit about it, but the movie and why the character is singing this song is not the point of this article. What does matter are the three little words from the chorus of the song – Let It Go?
There are several things that we are supposed to “let go” as we follow Christ. One is our worry and anxiety. “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NASB95) Our burdens, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22, NASB95) Another is our old identity as exemplified by the blind beggar in Mark chapter 10. We are told that while Jesus was traveling through Jericho a blind beggar, having learned that Jesus was passing by, began yelling, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The crowd kept trying to silence him but he yelled all the more. Having heard the beggar’s cry Jesus called him over. “Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus.” The result of their encounter was that the blind beggar received his sight. By throwing off his cloak the blind man was throwing off what identified him as a beggar. He let go of his old self-identity in order to have an encounter with Jesus. We are also to put aside, to cast off the attributes of the old self. Paul provides a list for us in Colossians 3, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,” (Colossians 3:8–9, NASB95) Paul also instructs us to put on certain attributes, but that is a topic for another article. To summarize, we are to let go, to throw away: worry, anxiety, burdens, our old self-identity, anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, lies, our old self, and evil practices. Sometimes, however, we forget we have things to let go of. We are so used to these things that we don’t even consider letting them go. It is also possible that we have forgotten how to let go of things.
My youngest grandson, Eli, just turned two. Betty and I arrived early for his birthday party so I had some time to play with him. One of the things we did was play catch with a large red ball that is half his size. His throw was imperfect at times but he did manage to let it go in my general direction. I’m told that sometimes Alzheimer and dementia patients forget how to let go of a ball. Instead, they clutch it with both hands, make the right motions to bounce it but forget to let go, so the ball frustratingly stays stuck between their hands. Sometimes we’ve held onto something, a hurt, a grudge, a sin, an idea, an idol, an image for so long that we have forgotten how to cast it off, or that we even need to. We might even make the right motions, say the right words, pray the right prayers, but somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten or refused to let it go. Throwing something always involves opening the hand, releasing our hold and control of whatever we are tossing, bouncing, or rolling.
That is my simple encouragement, let it go. I don’t know what the “it” is for you but I’m sure you do or that if you don’t God will show it to you. Let it go, open your heart and release your control over whatever the “it” is. Then you’ll be the one dancing and singing, bringing joy to God your Father.