The next several weeks of posts will be based on our most recent devotional poem, “Light Hand or Tight Hand?” Click here to see the full text.
There is no pain deeper than lost love and no joy greater than its acquisition. When we unselfishly love, we become more complete for we partake in the very nature of God (I John 4:12). Wars have been fought, fortunes forsaken, and unspeakable suffering endured all for the cause of love. So, to find love is to find the greatest of all gifts. And when it’s found who would dare let it go? We should and we must if we hope it might be what we dream that it could; for this is exactly what God asks us to do.
Jesus taught that the greatest purpose a person could pursue is to love God with all his or her being (Matthew 22:37). This call to love God is not merely the imposition of an exterior divine law but more like an interior code, a divine pulling that nudges us from within (Romans 2:15). As Christians, this inner calling becomes clear through the work of the Holy Spirit. And by means of surrender we learn how to rely on the sufficiency of God’s love as we see its transforming impact in our lives.
However, while it may seem easy to say, “Yes!” to holy surrender in times of spiritual elation, we must know that such devotion will not go unchallenged. What could possibly challenge our confessed devotion to love God above all else? Could it not be a misconstruing of God’s greatest earthly treasures—human love? Such caution not only serves to protect the sanctity of our love for God but also preserve the health of all our other loves.
What does it mean to rightly prioritize human love? It is to recognize what it can and cannot accomplish. If we do not find our worth and purpose first in God’s love then we’ll seek it in the love and affirmation of others. And in doing so we’ll sabotage these blessings because we’ll expect them to deliver what they never can. Hence, the secret of most effectively loving others is to first surrender such ones to God.
So, in a seemingly contradictory way, the Christian learns to love most powerfully when she learns to hold most lightly. And the Christian learns the secret of receiving love when he first learns that he’s already perfectly loved in Christ. Therefore, through choosing the strength of surrendered love we soon understand why light hand holds as only a steward but tight hand in idolatry grasps. Next week we elaborate on the light and tight grips of love and how they relate to Christian surrender.
What Do You Think?
How, specifically, do you think “tight hand” can be damaging for relationships?
♦ To see the poem this post is based on, click here.