I saw it for the first time, right there.
Right in a place I’ve visited before.
There on the worn page, read and re-read over and over, shimmered a golden nugget.
The text was quite familiar, yet always fresh. Always teaching, ever new.
Paul told the Corinthians to “widen their hearts.”
See if you can follow this unconventional train of thought…
The more you stuff into a pliable vessel the bigger it becomes.
Take a duffel bag, for instance. When I start putting clothing in that duffel bag it expands. And the more I put in it, the fuller it becomes and the bigger it gets.
Not so with one’s heart.
The more I fill my heart with love for the things of this world, the more narrow it becomes.
There is nothing that can choke a heart like our own affections. Nothing that can constrict and shrivel and shrink a heart like filling it with things I desire for myself.
Christ, dwelling in our hearts, is what expands a heart. The more we feast upon Him, abide in Him, live in Him, the more that heart is filled with the fullness of Him.
Paul prayed the Ephesians might know the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of God. Knowing that immense love fills a heart to overflowing, giving it breadth, length, height, and depth.
And Paul touched on it here. His shared insight gave a clue to what keeps a heart small.
“You are not restricted by us,
but you are restricted in your own affections.”
[2 Cor 6:12 ESV emph mine]
He had opened wide his heart to the Corinthians and he was asking them to do likewise. He pointed out that their affections were the only thing to restrict reciprocal love. What affected their hearts is what kept them from loving.
That’s what caught me. That’s what helped me see that to have a wider heart is to have less in it. Only one thing is needed—Christ.
The more I pack this heart the more cramped the space—crowding out any room for the large love of Jesus to expand.
A heart full of what I allow to affect it does not have room for the fullness of Jesus and therefore cannot love others with His expansive love. My heart is then restricted. Loving more things does not mean I can love more. Loving less frees my heart to love more . . . more fully. . . and to love with a heart full of Him.
So I need unpack my heart of my own affections that restrict. In so doing I give Jesus room to fill . . . expand. . . w i d e n . . . to freely love unrestrictedly.
Lord Jesus; Widen this heart with the fullness of You that I may love.