I have a friend who is very dear to me, but due to the long distance between us I can't make her a cup of tea when she's sick, receive a hug from her when I'm feeling sad, or look her in the eye to tell her what her friendship means to me. Although I've never been fortunate enough to physically see and spend time with her, I've still learned a lot from her.
In every situation I've ever experienced with her, through every conversation we've ever had, her heart has always reflected who she really is. I don't have to spend unnecessary time peeling back layers of masks in order to discover her truth, for she is a what you see is what you get kind of friend. Her transparency allows her to put her heart on display for all the world to see, and what we see is a reflection of true beauty; a heart so full of God that it's contagious and helps us to understand more fully what compassion, love, and devotion are really supposed to look like.
God created our hearts so we could give and receive love, but just like a mirror we are only able to reflect back what is truly there. If we fill our hearts with bitterness, deceit, greed, selfishness, and hate we can only expect that to be what comes spewing back out of them. Instead, we should be showing a "love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith." (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT)
That kind of love doesn't come to us automatically; it's not something we wake up one day deciding we want, and from then on become able to reflect a wonderful, pure heart. No, there's only one way we will consistently be able to show that kind of love. We first have to make a change inside our hearts. The best way for me to explain how to do that is with a verse consisting of seven words.
"We love because He loved us first." (1 John 4:19 NET)
That's pretty plain and simple. Seven words to tell us why we should be showing love. We show it because of Him. We love because He is love, and to not love would mean that we didn't know Him. (1 John 4:8)
We also love so that we can reflect His presence in our lives:
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (John 13:34-35)
There’s no better way to prove to the world we love Him than to make sure our hearts are reflecting everything He has done for us. He's already proven His devotion to me by paying the ultimate sacrifice of dying for my sins, so I can't imagine not giving my life back to Him in love.
Rick Warren in his book * “The Purpose Driven Life,” says “love concentrates so intently on another that you forget yourself at that moment.”
That's what I want for my life. I want to continually forget myself; I want to get so lost in the pain, the hurt, and the needs of others that I won't spend a single selfish moment wondering about anything else. I want my life to reflect hope, joy, and peace, but most of all I want it to reflect love. I want it to tell the world about the Man who changed my life. I want it to show the love of Jesus without a single word spoken or needed.
Please know that even if I'm unable to touch you, hug you, or speak to you in person, through my writing I hope you see how very much I love you. I hope you are able to see how very much Jesus loves you. If there is ever anything I can do for you, a prayer you need prayed for, a need you want to voice, or you simply want to talk, you can contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
I ask that You give us hearts that beat so strongly for You that words will not be necessary to show the world all that You have done for us. We love You so much, and our wish is for others to see You the way that we do.
Give us the courage, perseverance, transparency, compassion, and faith needed to spread Your Word to others. May You bless our homes and families, and may we always reflect love from hearts beating strongly, fiercely, and passionately, only for You. For it’s in Your name we always pray,
Salina Thomas Gibson
* Warren, Rick, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan, 2002