Shortly after my husband and I were married, I realized I struggled with an issue. I have a hard time not telling my husband how to drive when he gets behind the wheel. It’s not like I don’t trust that he is a good driver—it’s not like I’m worried that he is going to crash the car every time we drive together. Rather, I don’t like the feeling of not being in control. I don’t like that I have no power to turn the wheel or press the brake.
Therefore, in order to combat the sense of anxiety I feel about being out of control, I try to dictate how he drives. I point out any possible danger just to make extra sure my husband is aware of his surroundings. Of course, these actions only make it more difficult for him to drive. So although I still struggle to surrender control, I try my best to “let go” in the car and let my husband take the wheel.
What does it mean to “let go and let God”?
There is a popular phrase said amongst Christians to “let go and let God.” This sentiment encourages us to let go of our problems and let God work. Or perhaps let go of the steering wheel, so to speak, and let God be the one in control. This phrase is often posted on coffee mugs, stamped on bracelets, and painted on wall art. But even though this sentiment is catchy, is it biblical? Does the Bible actually tell us to “let go and let God?”
Is the phrase “let go and let God” biblical?
From the start, it’s important to know that there is no specific Bible verse that uses the words “let go and let God.” However, the Bible does use language that encourages us to give God control. Proverbs 3:5–6, for example, tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” Mark 8:35 also says, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it” (NLT). These verses teach us that surrender is necessary in order to follow Jesus. Going our own way will not lead to eternal life. Hanging on to our wants and desires will not save us. In order for us to experience salvation and walk in God’s ways, we must surrender to the Lord. We must humble ourselves and let go of our selfishness and pride.
The Bible teaches us that we must lay down our lives so that God can do His work of salvation and transformation in our hearts. While we surrender to the Lord when we give our lives to Him, we are also to surrender to the Lord daily. We die to ourselves daily by letting go of what we think is best in order to obey what God says is best. We let go of our selfish wants and desires to pursue obedience to the Lord. So in this sense, we are to “let go and let God” as followers of Christ.
While the surrender aspect of “let go and let God” is biblical, there is an aspect of this phrase that is unbiblical. It’s possible to believe this phrase teaches us that letting go and letting God means that we are to do nothing after we surrender to the Lord. We might think that surrendering to God is like letting go of the wheel and kicking our feet up as the car zooms forward. We might believe that we just need to sit back and wait for God to move the way He wants to in our circumstances. This kind of thinking can cause us to become lax in our lives as believers.
What does it mean to surrender to the Lord?
Surrendering to the Lord does not mean that we are to be stagnant in our walk with the Lord. Scripture teaches us that the Christian life is a life of action. For instance, 1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to “fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5–6 says, “For you are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. So then, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us stay awake and be self-controlled.” Ephesians 6:11 implores us to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.” These are just several of many Bible verses that show us that we are to be people of action as followers of Christ. So even though we are to surrender to the Lord daily and trust in His control, we are to also keep living the Christian life. We are to keep obeying God’s commands, drawing close to Jesus, serving the Lord, and fighting against our sin with the Spirit’s help.
So let’s “let go and let God” in the sense that we humbly give God control and trust what He’s doing in our lives. But let’s not see this idea as license to sit back and coast through our lives. May we be humble but not lax. Trusting but not idle. Always quick to surrender while still faithfully following the Lord. We can let go of our pride and let God work while also actively serving Him.
Additional resources on surrendering to God: