Surrendering to God will cost you everything. But this is nothing compared to what he gives in return. Spiritual, physical, emotional, and social health are just some of the riches we discover from submitting our hearts to God. Recently, we’ve discussed how such surrender is the best asset for healthy social relationships and today we’ll consider the implications of this claim.
Managing the Realities of Love
If God has blessed us with the gift of cherished love, we must wisely steward the demands that come with it. We’ll soon realize our most treasured relationships don’t grow by themselves—they require lots of effort and time. If we don’t carefully manage these resources we’ll soon find we don’t have enough. Whether out of good intention or just poor planning, our time and energy will quickly slip away. And, unfortunately, we’ll often end up cutting the most important things to make up the loss. In doing so, we inadvertently compromise the very foundation that makes our relationships so special after all.
The Risk of Grace
It’s been said that people tend to take for granted those they need most. I think this also relates to our relationship with God. For when we’ve tasted his grace, we soon learn there’s nothing we can do to separate us from his love (Romans 8:35). As freeing as this awareness is, it’s also potentially harmful. How?
Even though God’s acceptance of us is never earned by what we do, our neglect of certain spiritual disciplines—prayer, worship, Scripture, fellowship with other Christians, etc.—can lead to a slow erosion of our faith. Certainly, a set number of hours in prayer or Bible reading doesn’t prove our heart is right with God but the proper maintenance of our faith does take time. We should never think that grace gives us an excuse for such disregard. Only we can determine our faithfulness in this matter.
It’s no exaggeration to say that God makes himself vulnerable when he blesses us with cherished love. In a very real way he takes a risk . . . that our lives might become consumed with these precious relationships . . . that we neglect him as our first love (Revelation 3:15) . . . that we become dependent on these others as our purpose. If this happens, we’re susceptible once again to the tantalizing temptation of tight hand upon them returning upon us. We definitely don’t need to fear the blessing of relationships but if we want them to remain healthy, we must know how to wisely steward love as one who’s first surrendered to God. Next week we’ll consider the relationship between light hand and the practice of faith.
What Do You Think?
How well are you stewarding love in view of your relationship with God? What behaviors (or lack of behaviors) can help inform your answer?
♦ To see the poem this post is based on, click here.