By Rick Sizemore (2011)
Our hearts are a like windows on a house that allow the light of well lit rooms to shine out into the darkness of a surrounding night. Our heart allows the love of our heavenly Father to shine out to Him and others.
But, just as the windows on a house can become covered with dirt or by curtains,our hearts can also be covered by spiritual dirt and spiritual curtains. When our hearts are covered it hinders the light of God’s love from being released.
Here are ways the love of God can be hindered from flowing in and through our lives:
1. Not responding to the needs of others hinders the flow of love:
One of the ways love can be shut off in our hearts is when we purposely close ourselves off from others needs. “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him” (1 John 3:17)?
When we see a need and we do not respond, our hearts become closed off to the love of God. Our heart is created in a way that when it receives a stimulus of information we have to respond to the information. If we do not respond our heart will start to block out the information we did not respond to. For example, a person who lives near an airport or railroad will learn to block out the sound of a plane or a train. In the same way, if we do not respond to needs of others and we block the flow of God’s love in and through our hearts, our hearts will become hardened to the love of God.
We cannot pick and choose where we will allow God’s love to flow without it having an effect on us. Not responding to the needs of others in the light of God’s love will harden our hearts.
2. Sin hinders the flow of love:
Sin causes the love in our hearts to grow cold. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). If a person is severely burned by a hot iron on their arm, that person’s arm will lose the ability to feel in the area of the burn. “[B]y means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron;” (1 Timothy 4:2). Sin destroys the spiritual nerve endings our hearts.
We must guard our hearts from the deceptiveness of sin, lest we lose our sensitivity to the love of God.
3. Misdirected love hinders the flow of love:
A young woman would not be able to stop a strong man’s punch by sticking her hand up and straight on blocking the punch. But she could divert the energy of the man’s punch away from the intended target.
In the same way, Satan cannot stop the force of love. But he often seeks to get us to focus our ability to love in the wrong places or in the wrong ways. Paul told the Corinthians, “You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections.” (2 Corinthians 6:12).
The Lord speaks to us through David, warning us of the danger of misdirected love when He says, “O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach? How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?” (Psalm 4:2).
God’s love is like a fine kitchen knife. Such a knife should only be used for its created purpose of cutting food. If a person plays around and cuts paper or plastic with the knife, when it comes time to use the knife for it’s designed purpose that person will find that their knife has become dull. It will be hindered from fulfilling its function.
When we use God’s love outside His intended purposes, it will dull the pure and sincere love of God. Love that is misdirected hinders our hearts from flowing in the pure and sincere love of God.
4. A lack of knowledge hinders the flow of love:
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;” (Philippians 1:9-10).
This passage instructs us that our love needs knowledge and discernment. If our love does not have knowledge and discernment we will approve things that will condemn us. “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:22).
Most small children have a “love” for food and drink. When a small child pulls a bottle from underneath the kitchen sink, the child does not have the knowledge and discernment to tell whether that bottle is a bottle of cleaner or if it is a bottle of juice. The desire for a drink, without discernment, can lead to serious problems or death.
The same is true for our hearts as well, we need knowledge and discernment to keep us from loving things that will end-up harming or condemning us.
5. Pain and sorrow can hinder the flow of love:
Jesus told the Pharisees about how Law of Moses could not heal broken heartedness between a man and his wife; therefore, the Law had made provision for divorce.
“They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way’” (Matthew 19:7-8).
But it is not so now that we have the cross, the power of His resurrection, and the Holy Spirit who heals our hearts of the brokenness of the past. Because Jesus came to heal the broken hearted we can love freely with the love that God has poured out into our hearts. With our hearts we allow the love of God to flow out to God and others.
Love is a God-created function of our hearts. Our hearts can be hindered from allowing the flow of love to shine out. We can close or harden our hearts from love. We can also allow sin to cause our love to grow cold. Our heart can be misdirected and be blocked off because hurts and pains of the past. The good news for us is that Jesus came to bear our sins, failures and sorrows so that we could freely allow the love that He has placed in our hearts to flow out to God and others.