“It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” We ask, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your kingdom?” (Matthew 20: 21). Ever since the snake said, “The day you eat of this tree your eyes will be open and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil” (Genesis 3: 5), we have been tempted to replace love with power. Jesus lived that temptation in the most agonizing way from the desert to the cross. The long painful history of the Church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led. —Henri Nouwen “In The Name Of Jesus”
Love is not an easy thing. It is because of love that Jesus came and lived as a man. Love is the reason he went to the cross. We are called to love God and love others. No, love is not an easy thing. It is no wonder we often settle for a counterfeit of love in our lives. That is, we exchange love, real love, for something else entirely. As the quote said above we often swap love for control, power or even lust.
Love is living with open hands. An open handed, palms up lifestyle that doesn’t grasp at things that were never meant to be held by us. Love is open handed because living with our palms up is to live without fists or the need to defend ourselves. To live without the need to hold tightly to anything. It is a posture of expectancy of receiving from above, a lifestyle of giving away. It’s easy to applaud others accomplishments and sponsor them with open palms.
The counterfeit of this love is to live with clenched fists. To fight for control, position and acknowledgment. A closed fisted life grabs at those things that were never meant to define us. It is to face life with clenched fists ready to defend and react. It pushes others out and looks not up but down. A clenched fisted life seems in control but will never satisfy. Control is a poor substitute for love.
If you stop for a moment and step back from your life. I mean just pause and take a 30,000 foot view for a second what do you see? Are there areas where love has been usurped by something else? Have your fists closed around some things that should be released? Perhaps at this height you can see the love of your Heavenly Father calling you to a fresh place of open handed, palms up, living!