CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Understanding the Heart of Love

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by Precarious Yates

My son, if you accept my words 
    and store up my commands within you, 
turning your ear to wisdom 
    and applying your heart to understanding— 
indeed, if you call out for insight 
    and cry aloud for understanding, 
and if you look for it as for silver 
    and search for it as for hidden treasure, 
then you will understand the fear of the Lord 
    and find the knowledge of God. ~ Proverbs 2:1-5 

And he said to the human race, 
  “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, 
    and to shun evil is understanding.” ~ Job 28:28 

There is so much that can be said on this topic. One can argue that the whole bible is about understanding the heart of love, particularly God’s love for us. Let’s just dive into a brief, and I mean brief introduction. 

Let’s start with something that was a major paradigm shift for me a few years ago: the heart is a thinking muscle. The bible supports what science is beginning to discover. Neurons within the heart communicate with the brain, and these neuron signals affect decisions. 

Jesus could have told them this. He referred to this scientific principle when he quoted Isaiah 6:9-10 in Matthew 13:15 

For this people’s heart has become calloused; 
    they hardly hear with their ears, 
    and they have closed their eyes. 
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, 
    hear with their ears, 
    understand with their hearts 
and turn, and I would heal them.’ ~ Matthew 13:15 

One thing Jesus wanted to drive home to all of us is God’s heart of love for us. That was the key piece missing from the faith of people He preached to. He wants us to understand God’s heart of love toward us. He also wants us to grow in love for others. 

Have you ever noticed how God uses difficult to love people to grow love in our lives? This isn’t an automatic. We don’t suddenly become loving the moment a deeply frustrating, annoying, and/or trying individual enters our lives. We don’t even become loving after twenty years with said person. We become loving in three ways: 

  1. Deciding to love (this is where the thoughts of our heart come in play, primarily through the prompting of the Holy Spirit). 
  2. Realizing we can’t love completely and consistently in our own strength (this is where understanding comes into play, which is also often the work of the Holy Spirit). 
  3. Asking God for grace and for this fruit to manifest in our lives (and this is where maturity comes into play). 

God also helps us out by letting us know what love is so we can make an honest decision. What does love look like? 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a 

Here’s a challenge for the next week: 

Make a list of 10 people God has used in your life to help you grow in love. They could be people you know now or those you knew decades ago.  

If any of those people on the list are currently in your life, pray through those verses in 1 Corinthians. Ask God to help you be more patient and kind to them. Ask Him to help you no longer envy, not to keep a record of wrongs, and no longer dishonor this person, even in the secret places of your heart. As I type out this, I am praying these prayers in my own situations. I am praying that I no longer keep a record of wrongs, so that my heart will not be hard toward any of these people. 

As we edge toward Valentine’s Day, and a reminder of love hangs in every shop window, let’s return to the heart of understanding love. Because God is Love (1 John 4:8&16), and He loves you very much! 

God bless you! 

Precarious Yates 

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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