December 10, 2018

Open Your Heart: Part 1

“I Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ.  Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!” Jude 1:1-2 (MSG) 

Have you noticed how obsessed our culture is with love?  The Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love” and, then, they broke up!  If we’re honest, we’re more obsessed with the image of love than real love.  Real love is messy.  Real love takes hard work. Real love means vulnerability and honesty.  It means open communication.  Real love requires you to open your heart to another – and that’s scary. But, it’s what enables us to really live, to experience the fullness of the life Jesus came to offer us. Jesus said, 

“… My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” in John 10:10b (TLB)

So, why aren’t most of us experiencing that kind of life?  I think it’s because of the war for our hearts that Jesus prefaced this statement with.  In the first part of that verse, He warned us, 

“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy….”

Maybe you’ve never really considered that there is a war going on for your heart.  You see, the enemy of your soul knows what God can do with a heart that is wide open to God.  Satan fears what God can do with a wide-open heart, and he will do anything and everything he can to attack, shut down, or limit its capacity to love and be loved as much as possible.  He knows that we will never fulfill our God-given destiny unless we open our heart wide to God!  We’ll settle for less than the life Jesus came to offer us.  We’ll just exist and never really live!  Do you feel that way?  Have you settled for a life that lacks significance, intimacy and passion?  Has the enemy so attacked your heart that you’ve just shut down?

The wounds of the heart often come early in our lives when we are the most unprepared and unaware of the battle waging for our heart.  Sometimes, it comes from criticism.  Someone says, “You’re not good enough.”  “You’ll never make it.”  Or the abuse could have turned physical.  Someone you trusted, perhaps a parent, a spouse or family member violated you in such a way that you closed your heart and determined you would never open your heart again.  It was the only way you knew to protect yourself from ever being hurt again.  The problem is the pain didn’t go away.  The wound was still there and, as the years began to go by, you went from living to merely existing, trying to mask the pain of a broken heart.

The truth is we are all broken.  That’s why Jesus came!  He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to heal the wounds of our heart and offer us a quality of life we thought impossible to ever experience.  I believe this week of blogs will be life-changing as we learn together to open our hearts wide to God and move beyond the image of love to the real deal.  My prayer is that each of us will experience how long, how deep, how wide and how high God’s love really is.

“Open your hearts, love is on the way!”  Jude 1:2 (MSG)

Let’s find out how this week!