Holding Too Tightly
Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: Luke 12:13-21
I. God is the Source of every blessing: But when we treasure His gifts more than our relationships with Him, He sometimes has to strip away some of those benefits. As Life Principle #19 says, anything you hold too tightly, you will lose. This truth is illustrated by the parable of the rich man, found in Luke 12:13-21.
II. There is more to life than living for yourself.
A. In the parable, God blessed a rich man with abundance. But the one who received this great provision failed to acknowledge the Lord as its source. In arrogance, he planned to take life easy, but God ended his life that very night (Luke 12:13-21).
B. It is foolish to ignore our Maker and think only of what we can experience, achieve, or accumulate (Luke 12:15). Example: An elderly man challenged his grandson to think about eternal goals, not just material ones.
III. What do people hold too tightly?
A. Relationships—A sure way to destroy a relationship is to smother or try to control someone.
B. Goals and dreams—We should ask the Lord to show us which goals to pursue.
C. The past—One of the most destructive things you can cling to is the past.
D. Old hurts—Surrender those difficulties, heartaches, and problems to the Lord.
E. Wrong ideas and perceptions—Every thought should be tested against the Word of God
F. Timing—We must learn to submit to God’s schedule.
G. Possessions—We should be careful not to make anything into an idol.
IV. Benefits of Intimacy with the Father
A. Stability. In the midst of life’s storms, a solid relationship with God is your anchor.
B. Security. You can have the assurance that He is always with you, ready to help in any situation or circumstance.
C. Serenity. Intimacy gives you quietness and peace in your spirit, no matter what happens. You can trust that the Lord will guide you through difficulty.
D. Sensitivity. God will give you greater spiritual understanding and increased awareness to the needs of others. .
V. Biblical Examples
A. Some people believe that Judas betrayed Christ in hopes of forcing Him to take military action and set up an earthly kingdom.
B. Pilate agreed to have Jesus crucified because he feared losing political power.
C. King Saul relentlessly pursued David, who had been anointed as the next king.
D. Peter tried to protect the Lord, even when his good intentions hindered Christ’s divine mission.
E. Potiphar’s wife forfeited all interaction with Joseph when her false accusations put him in jail.
F. When the children of Israel tried to hoard manna, it always spoiled.
V. Biblical Examples
A. Fear of loss—Remember that if God gives you something, He can guard it for you.
B. Failure to trust God—When we start to love His gifts more than we love Him, we lose our contentment and joy.
C. Pride—We can grasp our positions, possessions, or prominence in a way that deeply hurts other people.
D. Wrong sense of values—Many folks place too much importance on worldly goals, such as accumulating wealth. Don’t let anything ruin your relationship with God.
E. Jealousy—Do you ever wish you could have someone else’s looks, accomplishments, or wealth? Most likely, you wouldn’t be prepared for it. God gives each of us what we are equipped to handle.
V. Biblical Examples
A. When we make anything a higher priority than our relationship with the Lord, He sees it as competition.
B. God will target whatever comes between Him and us.
C. The Lord may allow us to experience brokenness so that we turn from sin. He doesn’t want any idol to hinder our fellowship with Him.
V. How can you release your grip?
A. Begin by recognizing that God is not first in your life.
B. Then ask Him, “How much of my time, thoughts, or energy do I put towards this item, position, or person?”
C. Acknowledge that you devote more time and energy to something other than the Lord.
D. Decide to put everything in its proper place. Let Jesus be first, and He will help you arrange all other priorities.
VI. Conclusion:Is the Lord the most important person in your life? Don’t fixate on your own objectives and thereby miss out on His blessings and purpose for you.
I pray that you will make the Lord top priority. Open your hands and let Him have what you’re holding. When you allow God to be number one in your life, the blessings will flow beyond human explanation.