“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.
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Love. The word conjures up all sorts of emotions. To some, those emotions are positive. To others, they are negative. How we respond to the word love depends less on our experiences with love and more on our understanding of the real meaning of love.
Today, we use the word love quite indiscriminately and, I might add, rather flippantly. We speak of loving ice cream, loving a car, loving a style of house, loving a person, and loving God–all in the same breath. No wonder we are confused when it comes to giving and receiving genuine love.
Genuine love begins and ends in God. Scripture reveals to us that God is Love (1 John 4: 8). The Word does not say that God has love; it says that God IS Love. The very nature, or essence, of God is love. If we want to understand love, we must seek to understand God’s nature.
Why is this so important to our well-being in this life? Here are some thoughts for you to ponder:
1–We are made in God’s image. God’s nature is to love. Because He made us in His image, He designed our nature to love. But sin marred, corrupted, and perverted our original nature so that the nature of humanity, in its unregenerate state, is to hate. Moreover, when we do not believe that we are made in God’s image (as evolution teaches), we can never experience the well-being that comes from knowing God loves us.
2–To know God is to know Love. Since God and Love are one and the same, to know one is to know the other. An apprentice becomes an expert at a trade by spending time with his master, observing how his master works, and then applying what he has learned from his master. We become experts at loving by spending time with God, observing how He works, and then applying what we have learned from Him.
3–Love is the ultimate healer. Every physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual disease responds positively to love. We’ve all heard stories of healing wrought by the power of love. Love is essential to our well-being in every area of our lives.
So, how do we learn to love? And how do we become experts at loving?
Love Himself has given us the plan of action for loving. It is found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. Let’s take a look at what love in action looks like:
- Love is patient.
- Love is kind.
- Love is not jealous.
- Love is not boastful.
- Love is not proud.
- Love is not rude.
- Love does not demand its own way.
- Love is not irritable.
- Love keeps no record of being wronged.
- Love does not rejoice about injustice. Instead, love rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
- Love never gives up.
- Love never loses faith.
- Love is always hopeful.
- Love endures through every circumstance.
- Love will last forever.
How do you square up with God’s description of love? If you’re like me, you have to admit that, at times, you fall short.
But don’t get discouraged. We are all learning to love. Our life on this earth is a course in learning how to love as Jesus loves. We have not yet finished the course, but we are covering more ground every day.
So, as we move into the new year, let’s make it our goal to learn to love as Jesus loves. I believe that when we stand before our Lord, He will judge us not by all that we accomplished for Him but by how well we have loved.
To help you further in learning to love as Jesus loves, I invite you to listen to my very brief podcast titled “Have You Learned to Love?” (See the link below). It is the first podcast in my new weekly podcast series titled A Moment with MaryAnn. I trust it will bless you. If it does, please pass it on. Thanks!
Now, it’s YOUR turn: What has been your greatest struggle in learning how to love as Jesus loves? How have you addressed that struggle? Please leave a comment in the box below.
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The Daystar Devotional is a compilation of weekly devotionals I wrote for almost six years. At popular reader request, I have compiled these devotionals into a single volume for your convenience. I trust this book will encourage you in your walk with Jesus.
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