Even the mightiest rivers can be held back by man's combination of stone, iron and ingenuity.
"We can harness the power by controlling it. We'll take these living waters and conform them to our will. And then we'll put our name on it and people will come from miles around to visit and marvel at what we've done. Our work will power homes all across the country."
Yet, the true power is not in the control, but in the surrender.
Not when we fashion the waters to our will, but when we allow The Water to wash over us to become in us a spring of water, welling up to eternal life. (John 4:13-14)
How long have you lived off of the strength of your stone, your iron, your ingenuity? And do you feel powerful, or have you secretly never been so tired?
Is surrender depressing to you or is it glorious? Are you obligated or are you overflowed?
In this modern day, we so quickly rebel against the daily sacrifices of an uncompromised faith, scoffing at them as at a history lesson, where we learn about days past and can't believe how people ever used to operate that way. In arrogance, we delight that we've reached such a higher state of enlightenment, "Thank goodness we're not like them. Now we understand grace in a way they never did."
You say, "You can't require that of me, you can't demand such sacrifice! Salvation is a free gift! It's not for me to earn it through sacrifice, but to receive it through right thinking."
And I respond, "Why does compromise need such a defense? And is that where you want your name attached for all of eternity - he defended compromise, and quite well, he convinced many people."
Talk to me about love without sacrifice. Teach me how to separate the two and for what purpose. Why are we so adamant of a love which exists free from sacrifice?
For how long can we defend this position? Will we defend it to our children as we describe our love for them - free from sacrifice? As they mature, will we instruct them that the love of marriage is also a love which demands not sacrifice? Will this be your commissioning address to the young newlyweds, "Hear me now clearly son, it is possible to love your wife and not sacrifice for her."
Certainly not. The surrender proves the love, and the love drives the surrender.
In love, we gladly (without remorse and without making a deal):
Because in love we are:
Out of love, these same changes feel like:
The difference then isn't in the act of the sacrifice, but in the existence, or not, of love inside of ourselves.
If we've not allowed the waters to wash over us, to well up inside of us, we have no source of overflowing life - no hope of being able to sacrifice in love, for our arms are empty.
We only have something held back, let through on our own terms, at arm's length the rest of the time. Two opposing forces of strength, striking a deal to stay in harmonious relationship, "I'll let You in here, and then You do this for me. I'll take this part of You, but not the rest."
We must each come to terms with our answer to this question, "Is the Gospel I believe one of control, for my benefit, or one of surrender, in light of His love?"