Marriage – a pledge to love despite obstacles and with all your heart. Parenting – we commit to meet their needs and love them with all our heart. Friendship – requires a lot of work (and a good one is worth it) – and needs our whole heart.
Hmmm, most of the time I love my husband with my whole heart – until he makes me mad then we’re guilty of letting it wane a little. I adore my children – but sometimes I just want to shake them when I see the pitfalls they could avoid. My dearest friends are a source of strength and I care deeply for them – but still I let them down at times.
What is love with one’s whole heart? “[Jesus] answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27 NIV)
That’s a tall order – good intentions. Do any of us do it perfectly – no not one. However, we have a pattern to follow: Jesus opened wide His arms and loved us with all His heart – dying that we can live forever and ever. That’s whole heart love.
So how do we die to love God? Our neighbor? Die to self. When my hubby makes me mad, it’s all about me if I’m honest. And so it is with every relationship. A little dying to self could bring a whole lot of life to our weary world. It’s the same in our relationship with God. When we surrender ourselves and accept Jesus, we die to the ways of the world and come alive to the ways of God. No perfection expected, because Jesus is the only perfection we need. And little by little He will help us to love with more and more of our hearts.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)
Our understanding sees with eyes that can’t see our friend’s heart or our child’s either. Knowing that God does, we can trust that all He has planned for them He will bring about. And the most comforting truth: God loves us with an unfailing love – all His heart. Because of that: “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever.” (Psalm 86:12 NIV)
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