Let’s Talk About the Difference of Giving Up or Giving In
Giving up some thing is external. This discipline can be beneficial as a sacrifice turned over to God. Fasting is a “giving up” of some thing, usually food and has tremendous results in our lives. In Isaiah 58 we see the definition of a true fast and the results. But first we see the reminder of the folly of fasting the external while not checking our heart.
May I suggest that “Giving UP” in and of itself is not as important as ‘Giving In” of my heart, mind and motives to God. The two go together. In the following verses, fasting, is a giving up of food. And, we see clearly that we can “give up” and still not “give in” to God, but continue doing just as WE please or just as WE feel.
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.” Isaiah 58:3b-4
There are times when God calls us to give up things, but it’s not about the thing we give up, it’s about our heart. Out of heart all life springs forth. How many times have you given up, let’s say, sugar, but then go about “doing as you please”? Fasting calls us not to just “give something up” but to “give in”, all in to God”. If you are giving up something for Lent, think of this, God wants more than a sacrifice of a thing, He is calling you to a giving up of yourself.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear…Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the…pointing finger and malicious talk..” Isaiah 58:6-7,9
Now Let’s Talk About…Giving IN
But, GIVING IN, is different. Giving In is about the heart going beyond the surface of giving up. Giving in is a choice to let go and surrender to God. Of all the things that could prepare our hearts to receive all he has for us, this is the most important. With an external focus on giving things up, we can easily forget that the most important part of denial is the part that shapes our heart and focus upward.
The Apostle Paul taught about GIVING IN to God or to the Spirit many times. This giving IN was from the heart, led by the Spirit within us that empowers us to walk in freedom. Today I am focusing on giving in to the Spirit rather than being ruled and reigned in by my “flesh” or emotions regarding things. What does this mean in a practical application?
- Giving IN to Jesus is saying, God I trust You more than I trust myself.
- Giving In to Jesus is saying, Your promises to me are true, even when life lacks promise
- Giving IN to Jesus is saying, I have been hurt but I lean into your heart of forgiveness
- Giving IN to Jesus is saying, I don’t need to take revenge because I trust you to look after me
- Giving IN to Jesus is saying, I choose to believe the best in people, not the worst
- Giving IN to Jesus is saying, I trust you are working all things together in my life for the good.
What are you Giving IN to today?
Until next time….