A heart filled with love
The last few verses from Scripture told us that we are involved in a war. The ages old war between good and evil. The devil tries his utmost to steal us away from God. He tries to entice and tempt us all the time. He comes to us with camouflaged temptations and tries to deceive us.
When I look back at my life, I see many places where he offered that shiny red apple to me. How beautiful and tasty did that apple and the worldly pleasures look! I wish I could say that I stood firm at every occasion, but there were times when I failed and lost the battle. I suspect this may have happened to you too.
We must be prepared for these attacks. Soldiers not only undergo good training, but also put on the correct amour for battle. You cannot wear your church clothes to the battle field. It won’t work.
I see the neighbourhood watch guys all wear bullet-proof jackets. The purpose indeed is to protect the most vital organs.
When you go out into life, you need the right clothing for the spiritual battle. The clothes must protect your most important parts. That is why the breastplate is so important – it must protect your heart. Like two hands, faith and love must hold your heart to protect it against the enemy’s sword.
We must ensure that our faith is strong enough. We must know exactly what we believe in, because if you don’t know what you believe in on the battlefield, the enemy will deceive you and you will lose the fight. You must believe with everything in you and know for sure that God is your Father who loves you so much. He even sent his Son to bear the punishment for your sin so that the gates of heaven can open for you.
The other part of the breastplate consists of love. 8… dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation. Where there is love, the enemy has no chance. As we shy away from a light blinding our eyes, evil shy away from love. He cannot take it. Love is the exact opposite of the hate he spreads.
When love flows from our hearts, when we care, when we sacrifice a piece of ourselves for someone else, the war has been won and the enemy has lost. Is your heart filled with stone? Do you focus only on yourself and do not see the need of others? Do your deeds not tell a story of caring and reaching out and loving? Then you need to watch out. Your most vital organ is exposed and could easily be plucked out by the enemy.
To love is actually such an easy instruction, but so many of us struggle with it. It’s as if the own self keeps on coming in-between. We need reinforcements. We need God’s Spirit to come and help us. Let’s pray and sing with St Francis of Assisi and make these words part of our being:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is dispair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
How beautiful is this. The challenge is to make this prayer part of my heart, hands and feet …
How much peace flows through you?
How much love do you bring to the table?
Is your heart protected?
Father, I realise that I leave my heart wide open to the enemy. Dear Lord, please help me have and live more love. Amen.