All My Heart

People talk about love.  It’s probably one of the most discussed topics in the world.  In fact, I was a part of a discussion panel just last week that was focused on one subject, and inevitably we ended up talking about love.  We hear about the love of husbands or wives, love of neighbors, friends, the love of Christ, even love for dogs and cats.  And so often we hear all the gurus talking about how to find love, or more popular lately, how to love yourself.  But when do we actually sit and ask questions about love?

Plenty of us will spend tons of energy and vocabulary spouting what we know.  But how many of us endeavor to become students of love?  Are you willing to learn about love?  Learn what love really is?  Even learn how to effectively love?  I’m faced with this all these questions as I sit here, thinking about love.

Is the love that Jesus has for me, different than the love the Father had for Him?  How is my love for my fiancé different from the love I may have for a brother or sister in Christ?  And should it be?  Do any of us even know what true love is?

I know, a lot of questions with no answers.  Keep reading.

I believe most of us would say no to my first question.  We are pretty positive God loves us in the same way He loved His “only begotten son”.  But then Jesus instructs us to love as well.

He tells us in Matt 22:37 to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind.  THAT’S A LOT OF LOVE.  That’s loving with everything that is in you.  ALL of your heart.  ALL of your mind.  ALL of your soul.

Seriously, think about it for a second.  Jesus tells us we should love God with everything that we feel, everything that we think, and everything that we are.  How many of us are HONESTLY even coming close to offering that kind of love to our savior?

Then, He goes on to tell us we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves… (Matt 22:38).

But, what about those of us who might not really know how to love?  I don’t consider myself a guru.  In fact, I have absolutely NO desire to be one of those “online experts”.  If anyone should know nothing at all about love, it’s me.

I had no father.  I had a step-father, but he was a terrible example of what a father is and should be.  I lived with a mother whose main goal in life was to provide and she didn’t really know how to make her love for me “evident”.  And although I now realize her love for me was great, I never really felt loved as a child.  So how can someone like me love like Jesus is telling us to do in these scriptures?

I’m sure many of you can relate.  Broken homes are an epidemic in America.  Love is an afterthought… OR it’s a warped concept, leaving many people to give their children co-dependence masked in love.  So how are we to love like we’ve been asked… like we’ve been instructed.

I posed this question out loud to myself, and ultimately to God, and my initial answer was “I’d have to first experience this kind of love for myself.”  My thinking was, I can’t give what I don’t have or haven’t had modeled for me.  It’s the concept of “not knowing what you don’t know”.  So somehow, someway I have to be blessed with this experience of love.  In plain terms, someone has to love me like this for me to ever know how to love another in the same way.

But when, how, why and most importantly, WHERE can I find love like this?  Why would someone love me, when I’ve given them no reason to?  How could someone love a person who has done some of the things I’ve done?  Where do I find this person, and when oh when, will they come along so that I can learn love and become a better lover?

How can we love God the way Jesus instructs us to and then love our neighbors if we’ve never been loved?  Or at least if we’ve never “felt” loved.

The quick and easy answer is, we can’t.  We can’t love in this manner, if we’ve never experienced it ourselves first.  We can’t have love in the healthy, prosperous way the Bible is speaking of, unless we experience it in some way or form.

So what’s a fella to do?

It took me a while, but I realize now that there was a person who loved me like that.  In all my years, with all the days and time I felt unloved, there actually was a person in my life, loving in the way the Bible has described love.  There was a person in my life who loved me in that 1 Corinthians 13 – patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, keeping no record of wrongs, never giving up, never failing, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things, kind of love.

His name is Jesus.

Now don’t get all “holy” and “spiritual” on me.  This is something I have started to experience, but in portions, over time.  As much as I’ve talked about love on the air and through these blogs, I’m still learning to accept the love Christ has given, and continues to give me on a regular basis.

I’ve always “known” Christ loved me like this, but it took me a LONG time to open myself up to receive this level of love from Him.  How do you “open up to receive” it you ask? (I know that’s churchy – lol)

all my heart - his greatest love

Honestly, I’m not totally sure.  I’m not 100% sure of how to receive this magnificent amount of love.  But I am sure of the very first step.  That first step is believing that it exists, that it’s real, and that it’s available to you.  YES YOU!

Can you take a moment and just think about what it would be like to know someone loves you so much that they will NEVER fail you?  Take a second and think about that.

No really, take just a brief moment and think about the freedom that would come into your life if you were completely certain that no matter what anyone said, or how you felt, this one person will “always” love you.  Always.

Now this is not in a cocky, I’m saved so I’m secure type of mindset.  This is a “they will never stop loving me” kind of way.  No matter what I do, or how horrible I think I am.

When I first realized this, I was stuck there for a moment, because I had never really let that sink in before.  I had never truly let the guard down to really, truthfully, and honestly believe this person, Jesus, will not ever fail me.

Sure I had been in church and heard it and had all the appropriate emotional responses to it, even had done some “huckin and buckin” about it.  But I never let it sink into my heart, mind, and soul.  I mean that’s where it is supposed to be right?  Isn’t that the requirement Jesus laid before us, to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.  Well in order to do that we must first take the step of truly believing that He loves us in the same way with all His heart, all His mind, and all His soul.

Can you believe that?

Because it’s true. In fact, whether you choose to believe it or not, Jesue DOES love you.

This valentine’s day.  Take a moment to discover, or even remember, what a magnificent love you already have in your life.  Because you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart, you already have the greatest love ever given.  Some one already loves you with all their heart, all their mind, and all their soul.  Now it’s your turn.

Be blessed.