Learning the Spiritual Practice of Release

by Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor

In his message in our Risk-Takers series on Jochebed, Moses’ mother, Pastor Chad Allen told the story about how the Egyptians feared that the Israelites might one day outnumber them and overturn them. So, they ruled that all Jewish baby boys had to die. 

Moses’ mother, in order to save his life, released him by placing him in a baby boat on the Nile River in hopes that Pharoah’s daughter would rescue and raise him. That’s risk-taking faith in action! 

When we take risks by God’s grace and for His glory, His blessings will surely flow. Case in point? As result of Jochebed’s risk, Moses’ life was indeed saved and God eventually used him to set the Jewish people free. 

 Pastor Chad asked us what we need to release to God, “What (or who) is God asking you to release to Him and to His sovereign plans?” He said, “Sometimes risking means releasing – spiritually, relationally, conversationally, & financially.”

Chad led us in an exercise to open our fists, to symbolically let something go, and then to receive the blessing that He gives to those who practice the discipline of release.

But exactly how do we do it?

Here’s a guide – something you might want to do 8-10 times over the next 2 weeks – to help you develop the spiritual skill of release. Release needs to become a godly habit that must become a life-long practice. Why must this practice become a habit? We all have a tendency to take our burdens to the Lord… and grab them back!


The Spiritual Practice of Release : 5 Steps

 Get to a quiet place. Ask God to meet you – to speak to you and guide your thoughts. Ask Him to show you what you need to release. It might be a person, a right, a plan, a future, a dream, or a job. Make a list of 8 – 10 things that you have been grasping – things that you have been holding onto that you know have been limiting your joy and peace in Jesus, things that have been causing you worry or fear. After you have listed 8-10 things, choose one that will be your focus for this spiritual practice.  

  1. Recognize that your good and powerful God is sovereign over that very thing that is stealing your joy and peace and that is causing your worries and fears. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20). Express this in your own words either verbally or in written form in a journal. 

    “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”

  2. Admit to God that you have been hanging on to your will, your rights, your ways, your plans. Think of different ways that grasping may have hurt you and others around you. Jesus said, “Whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:28-29). Again, express this in your own words either verbally or in written form in a journal.
  3. Acknowledge that God’s ways, thoughts, and plans are higher and better than yours. He has allowed this thing that is causing your pain for His wise and perfect reasons. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). State this truth aloud or write it in a journal.
  4. Tell God that you are right now choosing by faith to let go and trust Him – that because He’s in control you don’t have to be. Tell Him you will accept whatever He allows to happen. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself…” (Philippians 2:5-7a). Literally open your hands (palms up) as you verbally give that person, right, plan, future, dream, or job into God’s hands. Now, just in case you’re tempted to grab what you are seeking to release again, turn your hands palms down, signifying that you don’t hold it any more. To reinforce this action, verbalize it or write it in prayer.
     
  5. Thank God in advance for the outcome – whatever it might be. Tell Him that you will by faith praise Him no matter what happens because you know that He is working all things together for your good. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Philippians 1:2-4). Pray this aloud or make it a written prayer.

Remember what Pastor Chad said, “Relinquishment isn’t a passive ‘let go, let God’ moment. It’s an active ‘let go, grab God’ lifestyle where we learn the habit of seeking God’s plan.”

Practice these steps 8-10 times with your 8-10 different situations over the next few weeks to develop deeply the skill of release – a skill that will serve you well as you walk with God your whole life long.