Living Free To Love With All Your Heart

Living free to love with all your heart is an adventure.  "Adventure?" you may be saying.  I say adventure because while for some this has been their constant living state, for many, many people this is almost a foreign concept.  Love is a fabulous emotion.  It is a spectacular gift we can give to others and receive from others.  Love is also a window into a person's very heart.  

When you and I feel free to love, the world opens up to us in a whole new way.  Colors are brighter.  We have an extra bounce in our step.  We are able to be more kind, more compassionate, and more understanding of differences.  Love opens our hearts up to the world of relationships outside of ourselves.  

1 Corinthians 13 has this to say about love, 

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

There are countless sermons on love, and yet when we experience it we feel like we have been given a rare gift.  True love, the kind spoken of above, warms the heart and helps us to be bold with our love in return.  So, why do we not see more evidence of it in our world?  Freedom to love starts inside of each of us.  It's origin is within...not outside.  We have the choice to cultivate love or to hide from love.  

How do you view love?  Is it an old friend or a foreign concept?  Does just thinking of love bring a smile to your face or a feeling of angst in your heart?  Are you satisfied with how you are feeling right now?  If not, then read on and take courage....

Paul makes a comment, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (verse 1)  When I read this verse, I always crack up laughing!   Paul grew up in the church like I did.  My father was a preacher, and so I heard a lot of 'sounding brass' and heard plenty of 'clanging cymbals'!  People would spout off about this and that...mostly their own rules or perspectives, and they would slay everyone in their presence!  The absolutely funniest part to me was the pride they carried as they 'set people straight'.  What a surprise they may be in when they get to heaven!  Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-2, "Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."  

That's NOT love!  Love isn't about telling everyone how much you know better than them.  Love is kind.  Love respects and enjoys differences in people.  Love has room in it's heart for different ways to think, and look, and feel.  Love embraces.  Love encourages.  Love is REAL.  When we are free to love then we also become more REAL.  We become more authentic.

Think of a couple you know who genuinely love each other.  They are each other's best friends.  I know a couple, who I grew up with.  They began dating in high school and then married a couple of years later.  When I saw them at my 30th high school reunion last summer, they were just as in love and close as they were 30 years ago.  Actually, closer, because they had done so much life together.  You know what - I liked them both individually, but seeing them together I realized they are both so much more now...together.  

That is love.  John says, in John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  Do you really get it how much God loves you and God loves me?  He didn't want to go without a possible relationship with us, so he sent his son to fix the pathway.  Wow!  

Love is felt in time spent together, gifts exchanged, encouragement given and received, tender caresses, and just plain old 'doing life together'.  You can measure the value placed on love in the actions.  Living free to love is an ongoing growing experience.  As I love, my capacity to love grows.  My heart becomes more and more free to give and receive love with the practice of loving.  

Accepting those whom we profess to love, as they are, is a really cute saying that has been used and overused much.  Staying in an unhealthy relationship isn't loving.  It also isn't what is taught in the Bible.  God has strict standards of behavior all throughout the Bible...I encourage you to read it.  It is our reference manual.  The Word is meant to give us clarity in this life.  

I started a Facebook live daily video, which I call Word Up, on January 1st.  It is a reading schedule, and then live video by me every day, reading the Bible cover to cover this year.  It has been a blessing to me, and the audience has grown as the year is going by.  I am not trying to be a theologian with this broadcast, merely sharing my LOVE of God and His word with others.  It has put feet to my faith, so to speak.  It is an expression of my freedom to love God with all my heart.

In my quest to live the life I love, and love the life I live daily, Word Up has become a wonderful opportunity for me to share my love for God with others.  Are you challenging yourself daily to love God more freely?  In my personal life, I have been challenging myself to open up to others more and to be proactive about loving people and letting myself be more open with others.  Have I been hurt by those who were supposed to love me in the past?  Yes, but taking it out on the people I am meeting now and in the future is nonsensical.  So I am teaching myself to be brave with love.

What about you?  Is your capacity to love growing or diminishing?  Are you happy with it?  If so, then great!  If not, then ask God to help you.  He will.  God IS LOVE.   It's not just what he does, it's WHO HE IS!  Progress is possible.  It may start with a cleaning out of the heart (forgiving others who've hurt you).  Living free to love wth all your heart is the beginning of a new never-ending adventure.  

It's the adventure I am on.  Care to join me......?  

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