Student Series: Enlarge My Capacity to Love You
When asked which of the commandments is the most important of all, Jesus responds simply “The most important commandments is this: The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength…”
Imagine being one in the crowd hearing Jesus, the Son of God, stress the importance of wholehearted devotion. I’d like to believe that my heart would be so captivated by love that every hindrance and hesitation would fade away. It’s my hope that I would instantly surrender everything for the sake of love.
However, if I’m being honest, I read this passage, and I am faced with the harsh reality of my compromise and every other “lover” that I have given myself to. Jesus commands us to love Him solely and completely; a covenant bond of commitment and trust that is driven and motivated by love. But I am an adulteress trapped within my shame, lacking even the smallest capacity to return wholehearted love to a perfect bridegroom.
I grew up in the church and within a very godly home, but it has only been in the last two years or so that I have come to really know the Lord. In high school I remember being so trapped in my sin and shame- not knowing how to escape the cage that the enemy held me captive in. I had loads of head knowledge in knowing what to say, how to behave, and how to hide, but I lacked real understanding of truth and had very little belief or “heart connection” in the things I was taught.
It wasn’t until I graduated and left home to do Discipleship Training School with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) that I really discovered who Jesus is and how much He actually loves me. Over the course of my school, the Lord so lovingly removed the veil from my eyes and I finally saw Him, standing in front of me, eagerly awaiting friendship with me. I realized the weight of Matthew 22 and what Jesus calls “the most important commandment in the law of Moses.”
But I cannot love God to the level of which He deserves without His help. I can easily convince myself that I am on track and doing enough to qualify myself. I make very dangerous assumptions about my spiritual health and become content, believing a lie that I have enough, that I am doing enough, or that I am presenting enough. The truth is, I will never be able to love the Lord with ALL of my heart, ALL of my soul, ALL of my mind, or ALL of my strength without Him.
When I consider this part of my story, I am reminded of this verse in Psalm 66, and I see the faithfulness of the Lord to honor my “weak yes” and answer the cry of my heart:
“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened, but God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.” (Psalm 66:18-20)
Since this realization, the prayer of my heart has been “Jesus, HELP ME to love you.” My heart aches when I think of Jesus, who has always loved me unconditionally and perfectly, who has never grown weary in chasing after me, pursuing me, or choosing me despite my continued rejection and abandonment. I am frustrated at my sin and selfishness, but He already knew my sinful nature in the beginning, and He chose me anyway.
This has been the most recent topic of conversation between me and the Lord. I find myself praying to Him, “Enlarge my capacity to love you.”
As I discover more of His character and more of His love for me, my love for Him grows deeper. It’s the concept of learning to be loved in order to love. I am convicted, humbled and healed when I experience His perfect expression of love, which in turn gives me the ability to love Him better and love others more.
We all possess the ability to love, but to what extent? Our expressions of love can be filtered through past assumption, experience, and often pain. I need the love of the Father God to remove those filters and hindrances within me, which in turn increases the level at which I can love Him.
The depth of my affection is transformed by the revelation of His affection for me! I have seen so much new depth in my love for Jesus since beginning to ask to the Lord for help in this area. I look back and see how far we have come, and I am so full of gratitude.
I have pressed into wholehearted love and devotion in a ways that I never thought I could, and it all began with this simple prayer:
“Jesus, I want to love you better; I want to desire you more. I know you love me, but would you reveal the depths of your love for me again? And would you enlarge my ability and my capacity to love you more?”
This has transformed my prayer life and my day-to-day relationship and friendship with Jesus. He wants all of our love and our affection and He is so worthy of it. May we all come to know the depths of His love for us and in turn, no longer live half-hearted but be fully fascinated and consumed with passion for Jesus!