As a follower of Christ, I have to give up my need to hold on and learn to be held. Christ didn’t cling to things or people; He rested in His Father’s arms. His life is a beautiful example of the strength found in being held. 1 John 4:18 reminds me of the power of being held in God’s loving hand.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (NASB)
Holding on is about fear. Being held is about love. Human nature and the ways of the world say hold on! Christ says trust God’s love to banish fear. It seems a simple choice, but I find myself holding tightly when I should be relaxing into obedience.
Holding people tightly leads to losing them. Love can only grow when let go. Possessions are more easily held, but there’s no joy in the ownership we think we have. All ownership is merely an illusion. Nothing valuable will be owned; that is particularly true when it comes to love.
No one holds more tightly than those determined to promote divisive doctrines. The body of Christ is a fragmented mess because of the holding and pulling that take place within it. Christ makes His will for His body beautifully clear in John 17:21
“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (NLT)
I get very frustrated and sometimes want to head to the mountaintop and leave the messiness of the church. I know God enjoys our special time alone, but I also know He created me for community. He loves Christ’s body, and He wants me to love it too. Love isn’t about fixing or doing for; it is about living and loving honestly and with a whole heart. Sharing my story and my journey with others puts my heart in the perfect position to be held, and that’s exactly where God wants it to be.
Holding on is about my strength and endurance. Being held is about dependence upon God. I can choose either path, but God made it clear this week that being held is the best way to go.