“Let go and let God.” Is this language to be embraced or shunned? Saints of God from the past gladly used this phrase. Today, some disdain it. It seems there is great misunderstanding. That some may use this terminology carelessly or inaccurately is possible, although I have not heard it as such in the years of my ministry. Historically, it is the language of surrender and faith.
“Let go” means to let go of self-will and self-power (which is the essence of self-dependence). This is surrender. “Let God” means to trust in God’s will and God’s power (which is the essence of God-dependence). This is faith. Ultimately, when you surrender up your will and power in exchange for God’s will and power, you are transferring your dependence to God from self. Surrender properly understood is faith. Faith properly understood is surrender.
Spiritual victory and spiritual ministry demand spiritual energy. Therefore, we must “let go” of self-dependence for self-energizing and “let God” through God-dependence for Spirit-energizing. We must exchange our will and mere human ability for God’s will and divine ability. It is simply a matter of denying self and depending on God.
Jesus, in His humanity, best exemplifies a right understanding of the phrase “Let go and let God.” For example, Jesus said, “I seek not mine own will [Let go], but the will of the Father [Let God]” (John 5:30), “I came … not to do mine own will [Let go], but the will of him that sent me [Let God]” (John 6:38), “I do nothing of myself [Let go], but as my Father [Let God]” (John 8:28). And, of course, there is the classic statement Jesus made in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will [Let go], but thine, be done [Let God]” (Luke 22:42).
Paul articulates the same reality in the words, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin [Let go]: but yield yourselves unto God … and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God [Let God]” (Rom. 6:13). Jesus uses this concept in His teaching on discipleship, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself [Let go], and take up his cross daily, and follow me [Let God]. Whosoever shall lose his life [Let go] for my sake [Let God], the same shall save it” (Luke 9:24).
“Let go and let God” is simply a “faith-phrase” or an expression of faith. Its original usage is God-centered, focusing on God’s will and God’s power. No wonder so many saints of the past felt free to use this catchy phrase!
John Van Gelderen