31 July 2008

Large Heart – 11.9.07

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. (1 Kings 4:29)

In 1 Kings 3, God came to Solomon in a dream and said He'd grant Solomon's #1 request…which is pretty cool. Of course, Solomon asked for wisdom, and God decided to bless him with many other things besides. One of those things is said to be "largeness of heart."

An "enlarged heart" is mentioned at least 2 other places in the Bible. Let's take a look.

1. O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)

"Enlarged" may be defined as "made greater in dimension or capacity; extended in limit."

Now, Jesus said that a love for one another would be the distinguishing mark of his disciples (John 13:34-35), and John wrote that a man who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar (1 John 4:20). So, I believe that it would be a valid prayer for each one of us to pray that God would give us a greater capacity to love one another.

In all honesty, each of us has an easier time loving some than we do others. Each of us know some people we would love naturally – even if they weren't our brethren. But God intends for the love of His children toward each other to extend much further than that. 1 John 3:16 says, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." May the Lord enlarge our hearts to such an extent!

Truth of the matter is that we need one another. That's how the Lord put together body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4). And none of us, no matter how strong or spiritual we think we are, can make it without our brothers and sisters in Christ. And if we do think that we can, it only proves the fact that we're much less strong and much less spiritual than we think.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for hath not another to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

My goal and my desire for our "youth group" is for each of you to have a place to make and grow long-lasting friendships. To have a place where all of you can hang out with the right people who are going to encourage you to go to the right place and do the right thing.

Now, I understand that many of you have been around this place a long time and have known each other for a long time, and have thus become real uncomfortable with "new people." But let's reach out to those God sends this way. We need them, and they need us.

2 Corinthians 6 says not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. I believe there are enough of us that none of us should feel too strong a pull in that direction. So I encourage you to befriend one another, to encourage one another, to LOVE one another with a pure heart fervently (1 Peter 1:22). Let's all pray that God would enlarge our hearts.

2. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. (Psalm 119:32)

Again, to "enlarge" is "to make greater in dimension or capacity; to extend in limit." It can also mean "to expand; to make more comprehensive."

The point is this. There are going to be things that God commands us in His word that we're not going to think ourselves capable of. Obviously, such thinking is wrong. God never tells us to do something He won't enable us to do if we yield ourselves to Him. But what we can do is ask for God to "enlarge" our hearts – to give us a greater capacity to run the way of His commandments – to extend our limits and enable us obey His word.

God grant it! Amen.

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