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Let Go And Let God

July 19, 2020

Let Go And Let God

Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10
Service Type:

Let Go and Let God1

Ephesians 1 & 2


Good morning! It is so good to be back with you this morning! I am excited to see you all and to be back together again. We want to welcome those of you joining us online this morning – thank you for taking the time to participate with us today! 

Story from Convention last year, as videographer - speaker was Nicole Malachowski, who was the first female pilot to ever fly in the US Air Force Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s version of the Navy’s Blue Angels. 

I don’t remember much about her speech, except one thing. Talked about learning to fly in formation. There’s no room for mistakes. Tricky turbulence - unpredictable air currents in the sky. She was getting panicky in the formation as she hit turbulence. 

Was getting frustrated why she couldn’t stay tight in formation  - finally asked for help.

One of the pilots sat down with her and said, “when you come on to turbulence, your natural instinct is to grip the joystick even harder. You will be tempted to fight through it, trying to compensate for the movement.” She agreed, yep that’s what she was doing. He continued, “the secret is to loosen your grip. Loosen your grip. If all of us loosen our grip when turbulence hits, our planes will dance through it in formation. But if we all try to fight it separately, we’ll be all over the place.” 

Loosen your grip. I heard her tell that story, and I thought, now that’ll preach. And for those of you who have control issues, and you want to be able to manage everything in your life just perfectly, you find pretty frequently that when you can’t control things, you get a little anxious, don’t you? And even when you hear Nicole say, “Loosen your grip”, you know in your head that it’s good advice, but it might actually bring more anxiety because it brings even MORE unknowns. 

Nicole’s advice was very good. “When you go through difficult or trying seasons of life, loosen your grip on the wheel.” 

And the deception that we’re talking about today is the Christianese version of that same sentiment, which takes it a step further and says, “You need to let go, and let God. Loosening your grip means you still have control, so in order to give God full control, you have to pry your fingers off of your own life, ‘You need to let go and let God.’”

That sounds so much more spiritual - even has a theme song = Jesus take the Wheel. 

Now, the truth side of the expression, “let go and let God,” is a call to surrender your will to the Lord. And at it’s very best, “let go and let God” can be a call to repentance. To repent of our desire to be in control, and to trust that God will be God, and that everything he does is good and righteous and just and true, regardless of how we feel about it. The Biblical language for this idea is “repent and believe.” 

Biblical + what God requires.. So Satan needs to twist it. “let go and let God” isn’t usually said in that context. 

Here’s how it usually works: Person struggling comes to someone for advice.

“I’m going through this rough time right now” someone says.

“Oh honey, you just need to let go and let God!” The advice goes.

“Ok, but what do I do to let go?” The recipient of the advice asks.

“Well,” says the advice giver. “You let go.” 

“Yes, but what does that look like?”

“It means stop trying to control things.” 

“But I’m already not controlling things.”

“No, you’re trying to control it by not letting go.” 

“So I’m not supposed to do anything?” 

“No, the thing you do is let go.”6

Make sense? Let’s close with prayer. 

There are a couple things wrong with this that we’ll look at today. 


Let go and let God implies that there are ordinary Christians who struggle with the normal things of life: anger, disappointment, anxiety, unbelief, etc, and then there are Varsity Christians who have figured out how to just let go and let Jesus take the wheel. Don’t struggle w/ stuff, they just let go. 

If you’re the one suffering, you feel like you can never reach that upper level of Christianity. 

  1. I must not be believing enough. 
  2. I’m not good enough of a Christian. 
  3. Maybe I am unable to actually see or hear from God because I don’t have enough faith. 

I guarantee there are some of you in the room who have felt that way. 

  1. You’ve looked at the faith of other believers and thought, I could never do that. 
  2. You’ve seen other people walk with God through incredible persecution or suffering and thought, I could never do that.
  3. You’ve heard people pray, or listened to them expound scripture and thought, I could never do that. 
  4. You’ve seen people offer forgiveness to those who have wronged them, and thought, I could never do that.

It creates a division that does not exist between the haves and the have nots. It creates division between those who have supposedly achieved Christianity 2.0 level, who know how to let go and let God, and those who are still JV, still struggling through things, holding on and not letting God work. 

Turn to Ephesians chapter 1 with me if you would. I wish I could just preach the whole book of Ephesians to you this morning, but let's at least grab a couple highlights.

  • 1:3 – Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. 
    • Who is us? Americans? Every human on earth? Christians who have achieved the higher level? Who is the us? Look at verse 1.
    • Faithful saints = you say, aha, it says faithful. That means godly, and saints means perfect, so there are different levels of Christians: The super-awesome ones who we call saints (they probably read their bibles for an hour or two every morning then prayer walk their street then lead someone to the Lord, all before 6am, and then there’s those of us who have to try really hard not to swear or tell dirty jokes. And the rest are somewhere in between.
      • Faithful = faith-full, trusting, believing. 
      • Saint = The Greek word in play here is “holy”, pertaining to something that is dedicated or set apart for God’s presence, like the tabernacle or temple. So “saint” is how we translate the word used to describe a person who is a sanctuary for God’s presence, which is exactly what we become when the Holy Spirit indwells us. 
    • So spiritual blessings aren’t given only to super-spiritual leaders in the church who have somehow attained the next level of holiness. Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places is given to anyone who has believed in the work of Christ, received it for themselves, and has become a place for God’s Spirit to live. 
    • And what are we blessed with = every spiritual blessing in Christ. It doesn’t say every physical blessing, every financial blessing – every spiritual blessing. 
      • Access to the Father
      • Union with Christ
      • Adoption into the family of God, loved as a son or daughter
      • Saved from eternity in hell
      • Being confident that we are forgiven of our sin
    • So while our finances and physical possessions might look different for each Christian, that is not evidence of what level of Christianity we’ve achieved. 
    • Ephesians 2:4-5  Anyone who has placed their faith and trust in Christ is saved by the same amount of grace. We were the same amount of dead, and have been made the same amount of alive. That’s true of the oldest, most experienced Christian who’s been following Jesus her whole life, it’s true of the apostle Paul who’s writing this book, and it’s true of the youngest believer in this room today. NO JV AND VARSITY 

And this is an effective deception of the enemy, because if Satan can’t keep you from believing in Christ for your salvation, he would like to keep you thinking either that you’ll never measure up to being a real Christian like so-and-so, or that God is somehow unable to do something unless you remove the roadblocks for him. You might be a Christian, but you’re not a Christian. You might pray but you don’t pray. And until you learn to let go and let God finally work in your life, you can’t achieve the next level. That is satanic. 


Another problem here is that you don’t “let” God do anything. Again this is the part of the deception Satan wants you to embrace… He wants you to believe that God is incapable of a certain action until you first do something. Maybe you’ve heard or said, “God can’t bless you, reward you, guide you, until you –––––––––”, or “God can’t really move in your life until you –––––––––––”.3 

  • God is not weak or deficient in any area!  
    1. Jeremiah 32:27 - I am the Lord, the God over every creature. Is anything too difficult for me?  - Doesn’t need our help or our permission. 
    2. Isaiah 46:10 - I declare the end from the beginning, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all my will


  • Psalm 50 - If I were hungry would I ask you for food? the cattle on every hill are mind, I personally know every single bird of of the mountains, and the creatures in all the fields are mine.


There are a lot of examples in scripture of people God used BEFORE they had much figured out. 

Abraham, Ruth, Samson, King Nebuchadnezzer, Matthew the Tax Collector, Mary Magdalene, and of course the apostle Paul who was in the middle of an assignment to kill Christians when God came to him. 

These spiritual blessings are not for Varsity believers only. Eph 2:8: God who is rich in mercy made us alive; we are saved by grace through faith. This is God’s gift, not from works so that we can brag about it. 


Look at verse 10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for to what? Let go? To let God? No. To DO

We are called for a purpose. We are not saved by grace so we can pull up the lazy boy and wait to die, so we can go to heaven where we kick back on a puffy cloud while angels play harps for us. The gospel is not opposed to effort – in fact, we are created for work! 

If we were to turn to Luke 22, in verse 42, you see Jesus praying something that sounds an awful lot like “let go and let God.” Not my will, Jesus prayed, but yours be done. Here’s how that’s different:

Let go and let God is the easy button to get out of suffering. It makes being holy a formula. “If you would just let go and let God, you will experience breakthrough and reach holiness.”

But as we talked about before, the path to holiness and obedience often goes through the desert. It goes through suffering. At least it did for Jesus. 

Hebrews 5:8 - although Jesus was the Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. Anyone can be obedient when you’re told to do something you want to do, or don’t mind doing, but even Jesus, God’s Son, was given suffering to prove whether or not he would truly be obedient to the Father. 


  1. Jesus didn’t let go of the cross. He embraced it. He saw the glory in it, and even if humanly speaking he was nervous about going through with it, he knew what he had to do. 
  2. That suffering you’re going through God has called you to for a specific purpose.
    1. It’s like a parent who spanks her child. To the parent, it’s a gift that will help that kid learn valuable lessons about obedience and how to handle things in life or whatever. To the child it sure doesn’t feel like it. It's hard, uncomfortable, and often painful. 
      1. And again what Satan wants you to see is yourself – you don’t deserve this! You shouldn’t have to feel this way as a child of God. What kind of father purposely allows pain to their children? How is that loving? You shouldn’t have to go through hardship. God wants you to be successful! 
      2. This is very, very, easy for us in western culture to take hook, line and sinker. We like power. We like authority. We like strength and influence. Yet our Savior came to us in weakness and suffering and surrounded himself with the outcasts of society, the disenfranchised, the poor, and we are called to follow in his footsteps. Jesus knew the plan was for him to go to the cross. So when he says, “not what I want, but whatever you want”, he’s not throwing up his hands and letting go of anything.
      3. Immediately after Jesus prayed this prayer, he stood up John 18:4, seeing the flickering torches of the Roman soldiers coming to arrest him, and John records: “Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” He knew the work he came to do, trusted that God would be faithful to do his part of raising him to life again, and then he got up. 
        1. "The Christian's motto should not be 'Let go and let God' but 'Trust God and get going!'"  ~ J.I Packer

So what does that look like for you? 

What is God asking you to do?

  • Season of hardship?
  • Season of change?
  • Season of prosperity

What is God asking you to do? “Repent and Believe.” Kill your sin, lean into God’s promises.

So to wrap this up: Pastor and author Stephen Altrogge puts it this way: The phrase “let go and let God,” highlights a paradox in scripture. One the one hand, we truly can trust God to provide for us and care for us and help us grow in holiness. We can rest in these glorious truths. We can stake our very lives upon them. God will be faithful to do what he has promised. On the other hand, we’re also called to strive hard after God. To fight against worry and selfishness and lust and pride. We’re called to put to death our sin. The Christian life is a battle. Scripture never attempts to reconcile these two things. It simply tells us to be encouraged by the work God has promised to do while at the same time to work hard in our pursuit of God. It’s not either/or. It’s a both/and. Let go and let God. Pursue God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Never try to separate them.2


  1. Sermon titles and topics taken from Jared C Wilson, The Gospel According To Satan (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2020)
  2. Altrogge, Stephen, Blog post written March 26, 2019,  https://theblazingcenter.com/2019/03/let-go-and-let-god.html, accessed July 14, 2020
  3. Jared C Wilson, The Gospel According To Satan (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2020), 126
  4. Ibid, 127
  5. Ibid, 128
  6. Ibid, 117