The Principle Of Forsaking All

There is a principle in spiritual matters that people from many faiths have discovered. Jesus called it “forsaking all” (Luke 14:33).

The principle teaches that in all areas of human experience, it pays to let go of our attachment to things, whether they be material possessions, hopes, relationships, fears, or whatever. Someone has summed it up by saying, “God saves the very best for those who leave the choices up to him.” If we try to manipulate God into conforming to our wishes, we cheat ourselves out of something better that he has for us, if only we had let him manipulate us.

Any time that we are going through stress, worry, depression, pain, indecision, confusion, anger, or temptation, there is something that we need to let go of; and if we can find it, the negative experience will disappear. It may be letting go of a responsibility that we have created for ourselves, or letting go of a fear, or pride, or our desire for excitement, pleasure, or understanding of a situation. Each time we let go and fall back on God’s love, despite the circumstances that surround us, peace results.

Jesus said things like, “If you want to be great, learn to be a servant. If you want to save your life, learn to lose it. If you want to be first, learn to be last. If you want to have treasure that can never be taken away, sell all you have and give to the poor. If you want to have houses and land and a big happy family, forsake all these things.” He was describing the paradoxical forsake all principle.

This principle can become an instinctive part of our lives, so that we can instantly prescribe the treatment for ourselves whenever we are “getting out of the Spirit.” And to the extent that we are willing to let go, we can live a victorious Christian life.

Most church people know that, for all their talk about victorious Christian living, no one is really living it; yet everyone secretly conspires not to confess this depressing truth.

Many people claim that they are an exception to the lukewarm norm, but usually on closer examination they all turn out to be dry wells like those described in II Peter 2:17-19.

Yet all of their problems could be solved if they would simply forsake all.

The few minor problems, that people who forsake all experience, are almost nothing by comparison to the spiritual frustrations of those who try to serve God and money at the same time. And even the few problems can always be traced back to some area of our lives where we are not letting go.

The slogan “Let go and let God” reflects the “forsake all” principle. But most people are afraid to take it literally. Like Abraham (Genesis 22), God asks us to sacrifice our “Isaacs”, but most people tell themselves that they have done it “in their hearts” rather than seriously taking a knife to what must be forsaken.

The beauty of taking forsaking all literally is that we don’t have to live with question marks about whether or not we are really doing what God wants us to do. If God wants us to have something we have forsaken, he’ll “resurrect” it. If he doesn’t, then it’s better off dead… crucified… forsaken.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Jim Elliot quote