Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Abandoning Jars

As our eyes met, I dropped the luggage weighing me down, and ran into open arms, leaving behind all my personal possessions. Suddenly worldly goods lost their value. They meant nothing compared to the love and acceptance of a friend.

In John Chapter 4, we read of a Samaritan woman who encounters the Savior at Jacob's well. Their eyes meet for the first time, and verse 28 says, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town...” In essence, she dropped her 'suitcase' and ran into arms of love.

She had come to the well with a jar and a plan, she left with a joy and a purpose. A thirst was quenched and a jug was forgotten. No hesitation. No clinging to the object. What motivated such complete abandon? An encounter with Christ.

Letting go of our 'jars' isn't always easy. Yet we don't see the Samaritan woman weighing the odds or debating a decision. Unlike the rich young ruler who struggled with letting go of his wealth, this woman didn't even have to think twice.

We all come to Christ with jars. They come in various shapes and sizes. We fill them with people, possessions, property and plans. We hold on to them with a death grip. They give us purpose. We often allow them to define us. Our 'jars' are who we are. Yet, when the Samaritan woman met Christ, her jar was left behind.

We can't embrace Christ fully if our hands are full.

The Samaritan woman's jar was her familiar and her comfort, but it represented her pain and her past. She had to let it go. Her past was not her future. We too must learn to let go. Clinging only paralyzes us. When we cling too long our hearts become diseased by the deterioration of the things we refuse to surrender. Our unwillingness to release things keeps us in bondage, unable to move on, and get on with our lives.

Today God desires to meet you at the well of His grace and love. He is concerned about you and the 'jars' you carry. “Jars” of bitterness, jealousy, grief, guilt, envy, pride, unforgiveness, fear, and insecurity. "We curse ourselves by hanging on to the past and bring disease to our own spirits by refusing to let go of old, unhealthy habits."

Our 'jars' could also represent a relationship or a dream. The Lord does give us dear friends and He also places desires in our hearts. "He delights in doing so, but never with the intention that they should become the center of our existence, our oxygen or our lifeblood. We need to release the jars that keep us rooted to the spot where we now stand. Don't cling too tightly. God will not be relegated to second place in our lives."

The framework and foundation of our identity can be shattered if we build our entire world around our 'jar', whether it be a person, thing or dream. The line between the love of our 'jar' and idolatry is a thin one. If you can't bear the thought of leaving your 'jar' behind and living without it, it has become too dear.

The woman left her jar at the feet of Jesus. She came to the end of herself and let go. When we finally do this, He surprises us with things better than our eyes have ever seen, our ears have ever heard or our hearts have ever imagined. He knows what we want and need better than we do. When we least expect it, He comes bearing an unbelievable new 'jar' filled with all our heartfelt desires and dreams come true.

After the woman left her 'jar', she went back to the town. Today we will live, work, and travel in our 'towns'. We need to discard what we do not need for the journey ahead. Ask yourself, what do I need to leave behind to move forward with Jesus today?

Philippians 3:8 says, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

We have to say goodbye in order to embrace a new hello. It take faith to say goodbye..and faith to say hello.

In her Bible study “No Other Gods”, Kelly Minter writes, “The real travesty is going through all the pain of a goodbye but never enjoying the fulfillment of a new hello." Every follower of Christ will have to take that walk to the well - it is the bridge between the old and the new. A 'jar' will have to be placed at the feet of Jesus, and that takes faith. "There is a finality that must be faced. Yet there are some surrenders that are purely necessary for life to blossom. Certain things - and I won't name them, because you already know them in your soul - choke us, wound us, and bind us in ways that keep us from moving forward. They deserve a farewell. Still we cling because the painful familiar is often more comfortable than the foreign amazing."

I believe God is watching us release 'jars' today that we have been clutching to our hearts and He is cheering saying, 'Now I can do amazing things. I'm ready to take you to the other side.' The question often is, will we let go and follow?

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Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Hi friend!! Well, yes, indeedy I have held onto me some jars in my past. I've learned it is wise to hold them loosely because it really hurts when Jesus has to pry them out of our clinched fist.

Hope you are well. Stop by my place when you get a minute and watch my very first vlog!


Sheryl said...

So good. I, too, have held onto some jars that leak. Only my LORD can fill me with His Spirit and His love.

Thanks so much for your blog.


On Purpose said...

I love this. And it is perfectly timed for my eyes and heart to read this morning. As a jar carrying girl myself I needed this. Thank you for writing from your heart the place He resides. Hugs my precious friend!

Cheri Bunch said...

Dear Joy,
Your words of wisdom minister so deeply to my heart. I must meditate on your thoughts, it seems an appointed word for me, ordered, timely. I will read this again. I must soak up the truth of it. I feel it is imperative. Thank you so much!
Releasing my grip from the jar ...

Kimberly said...

Beautiful, Joy.
I know I am one who has so often been guilty of clinging to my jars. Asking Him what I need to lay down in order to move forward with Him today.


Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Really good thoughts Joy! Have been anxious for your next post. Missed you.

God bless, Mississippi

Kathy S. said...

Amazing how the details that can so easily be overlooked in a story can say such profound things. I never looked at the jar laid down...never even glanced at it, just saw her joy and running!

"the painful familiar is often more comfortable than the foreign amazing"

That is like poetry Joy! I kept looking at that and it is so true, whether your jar is an idol, or just something that God wants you to lay down because He has a new moving from leading Bible Study to working with youth. Or closing a gift shop and moving into women's ministry...hmm

Lori said...

A treat to see another post! Joy ~ thank you for sharing your heart and soul! Your writing opens up the scriptures. He’s in the process of taking my firm and tightly held - hands, - ever so gently, - loosening them up, but, still holding on, a dad-bit!---Desiring more of Him, and less of the contents of the jar! He has shown me the satisfaction of being in His Presence -it’s irresistible. Through him and by him, he’s helping me to let go. As I cling to His scripture and as it becomes alive in me, I’m actively able to let go. Aaahhh, More of him! Less of me! And, oh, sweet Joy, how this delights him! Nothing compares to his love, which he so freely gives! Hugs, Lori

Shanda said...

I need to let go... I will be spending a lot of time today searching my heart and truly being honest with what my "jars" are so I can bring them ALL to His feet.

I'm visiting from a post P31 shared on FB. Thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what the Lord wanted me to read today. Asking him for an encounter with Christ today so I can lay some jars down. His truth sets us free!! It touched my heart to read that God is concerned about me and the jars I am carrying. Thank you so much. I have been so blessed with this.

I too am a P31 follower on facebook and was lead here by a quote they posted this morning. Thanks so much!!

Bonita said...

This past weekend I left my firstborn son at college. It has been a delicate balance of emotions since then. The house feels so lonely, but God has continuously spoken to my heart to release my son to his capable hands and start building a new life with my daughter.

It's a new season. A time to let go of the jar of my son's childhood and let him be a man. Time to pour into my daughter and husband. Time to reach out to other people in need-something I haven't had time to do in years!

Thank you for this very timely word. It is one of many things God has used to encourage me this week that He is still there and He's got everything under control. Bless you!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Great post. Definitely a pondering worth pondering!

~Grace and Peace said...

I have missed you, dear friend. Your post really spoke to me and I came upon it at the very time I needed it. Yesterday I said goodbye to my women's group and also gave up an opportunity to be a teaching assistant to tend to my family, per my husband's wishes. This part resonated with me: Kelly Minter writes, “The real travesty is going through all the pain of a goodbye but never enjoying the fulfillment of a new hello." It is God's confirmation that I must embrace this new season of my life on the shelf, so to speak.

And I will carry this with me today: We can't embrace Christ fully if our hands are full.

Thank you.

Toyin O. said...

Amen! Ia m ready to got the other side. Thank God for new beginnings.

Genny said...

"We can't embrace Christ fully if our hands are full." I needed to hear that nugget of wisdom tonight! Thanks!

Hope you are doing well!


Michele Williams said...

The last few years I have learned the hard way to let go of those jars! Great post and blog. I was truly blessed. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Shalom Joy,
I found your blog when googling Phillipians 3:8.... Thanks so much for sharing your heart. This is a beautiful post, with a message I much needed to hear again! May the Lord bless you mightily as you follow Him,
Blessings our of Zion!
in our faithful Shepherd,

Toyin O. said...

Great post; letting go of my jars.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Joy, I'm missing your blog posts! You must stay busy doing other things now. Still...I miss hearing about your life. Mississippi

Patrina's Pencil said...

MY MY MY....I cried so hard through the reading of this post too - that I had to take off my glasses and wipe the rivers. I am so glad that the Lord brought your comment over at Elaine's place - to my inbox today. Your writing is rich - deep. It cuts to the bone! You are addressing me right where I hurt! And I hurt - obviously deeper than I know. I am motivated to gather up my jars and lay them at the altar - please pray for me. I have been a caretaker of jars. I realized this today before I even heard of you. Because of a dream that the Lord gave me years ago, I now know what it meant. The Lord quickened my spirit this morning to remember that dream and I saw that it was me. I had become the 'underground' - secret caretaker of other people's jars. (most importantly - family jars - family secrets). Because of God's gift in me - I see things that other people don't see - I see things on a deeper level - I see things in my dreams that don't make any sense but God eventually brings them to a truth that only He could have released in me - for the purpose of healing.

Because of this gift - I have unwillingly became this caretaker of jars. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to see. But I can't not see. I'm highly introspective and the Lord is gracious to show me what's in my jars - personally Mine. But He allows me to see what's in other people's jars too - that's why I'm an intercessor.

I've shared too much already - but I'm asking for clear revelation and a mindful encounter with Jesus at the well. I loved Elaine series -'breakfast on the beach with Jesus'. I think you could do a series on meeting Jesus at the well. tor a series on individual jars - this was such an open door into my woundedness. I just cannot fathom it all. I will be contemplating this for sometime. - washing it with prayer and supplication.

You have a gift that opens door - I thank God that you are using it in this fashion - God bless you Joy for your faithful heart. I appreciate you - I appreciate God's gift of truth and His gift of divine writing. Keep your sword lifted high! You well loved daughter of the most high KING!

I will be back as time permits to read through more of your truth renderings here.

Blessings and favor in your journey
praying for you and your family
patrina <")>><
warrior bride in boots