When we think about our important inter-personal relationships we draw on our heart to frame a relationship that, to the extent that we are able, reflects our emotional commitment to that relationship. Ideally, love in the Agape sense of the word, is what we strive for in all our relationships. Agape love has been described as involving faithfulness, commitment and an act of the will. It is distinguished from other types of love by its moral nature and strong character. It is characterized by a decision to assist the welfare of another without regard to any personal benefit and without regard to whether or not we may “like” the other. It is the type of love described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love, in the agape sense, is at the “heart” of the Christian Paradigm. As a follower of Christ, we are invited to recognize Jesus as the “Incarnation of Divine Love”. If we are to become as “Jesus is” [hands, feet, voice and heart of Jesus], we do so by inviting Jesus into our hearts that we may daily draw on his Spirit. Jesus is love and by immersing ourselves in His love by sharing our hearts with Him, love comes to perfection in us. As the Apostle John says, “Love comes to perfection in us when we face the Day of Judgment fearlessly because even in this world we have become as He is. In love there is no room for fear but perfect love drives out fear” [1 John 4 18].
Most of us, by virtue of our human nature, carry with us a certain hardness of heart. We may often seem incapable of loving the way Jesus calls us to love. We don’t however have to remain in this state. We can allow our hearts to be transformed. In essence we can ask for a new heart by inviting Jesus to live within us. He knocks on the door of our hearts continually and asks to come in. As we prepare to celebrate the “birthday of Christ” let us resolve anew to invite Jesus into our lives. We can then begin to experience the ultimate “makeover” as we move into a new vibrant relationship that opens our heart to greater and greater love. As we become more like Him, those around us will begin to recognize Jesus in us. They too then will be drawn to the Author of perfect love and we will experience the joy of partnering with Jesus in his mission of salvation.