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Love With An Open Heart!

February is the month of love right? Well at least it's the time of year we try to pretend we are loving?! Now don't get mad at me for speaking truth! The truth is, if I were to ask the people who know you the best how loving you are what would they say?

Honestly, it is difficult to love and love well. God's definition of love and our definition of love are not equal. In fact, when I think about how God wants me to love others, I get scared, I think it's impossible, too difficult and too unrewarding!

Let me give you a definition of love: love equals sacrifice.

Jesus is very clear about this.

In Matthew 20: 26- 8 He speaks of this kind of love:

"Not so shall it be among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant,

And whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave—

Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free]."

Let's break that down even further. I think Isaiah's words in chapter 58 speak to me very clearly what it means to love. Throughout that chapter, Isaiah is challenging the people to observe their hidden motivations for fasting. He put it like this, your fasting is not a true reflection of your heart but only a show, it's not real.

This is what love looks like:

"And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday."(Isaiah 58:10).

Whew! I don't know about you, but those words pierce my spirit. Pour out my own life? Become a slave and a servant? Are you kidding? What about me? What about my needs, my feelings, my heart? How am I supposed to love like that?

The only way we will be able to love sacrificially is if we regularly practice keeping our hearts clean of the things that block us from truly loving. If my heart is clear of unforgiveness, hatred, fear, insecurities and guilt, I will be much more open and free to receive God's love and then give love the way I was designed.

Why is that?

Well, unforgiveness, hatred, fear, insecurities and guilt, block the flow of God's power to work through us.

And the only way we can love like God requires us to love is through God's power! We cannot do it in our own strength. We need to keep our hearts free of the impediments that puts us in a weak and powerless position. We become disabled by unforgiveness, hatred, fear, insecurity and guilt. These "heart impediments" weaken our ability to receive power and love from God. We cannot truly love one another if our hearts are hindered from receiving the power and love God wants to impute to us in order to love.

Now back to us, if there is a shortage of love in your life and your love tank is running low, first check to see how much you really love yourself. This is also a big reason why we find it difficult to love others. Do you believe you deserve to be loved? Was love displayed to you growing up, if so how? What do you really know about love and when do you remember feeling the most loved? Do you believe loving yourself is allowed, normal, and right? It’s important to examine your beliefs about love and your ability to love yourself, as the ability to love yourself and love God is always going to be reflected in how you love others. If answering those questions was difficult for you, you may need to develop the ability receive God’s love first.

Today, think about getting into the habit of examining your heart on a regular basis. Run a daily engine check of the heart. Search out for signs of unforgiveness, hatred, fear, insecurity and guilt and work to eliminate them from your heart. Learn how to love yourself and receive God’s love, so you will be free to move in the power of God's love to truly love others, Him and yourself.

-Christina Samyan, MSW, LCSW

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