The Heart to Lead

Francis Frangipane asks in The Three Battlegrounds: “Is your love growing and becoming softer, brighter, more daring, and more visible? Or is it becoming more discriminating, more calculating, less vulnerable and less available? This is a very important issue, for your Christianity is only as real as your love is. A measurable decrease in your ability to love is evidence that a stronghold of cold love is developing within you…”

Paul, with all that was at stake in Corinth, governed his own heart so that it stayed open wide, and his affections so that they were not withheld from them. [2 Cor 6:11-13] So rigorously and openly did he give his heart that he was able to call them to reciprocate—his leverage coming from his having gone first!

He called them to a “fair exchange” of affections.

I wonder if, on those occasions when I have been stunned by the absence of affection I’ve encountered, it actually represented a “fair exchange” of the stinginess-of-affection that I’d sown into the relationship.

I too have trained myself to keep my heart carefully cloistered away where it can’t be hurt. Not much. Yet, this protection comes at a great price.

As humans, let alone Christ-followers, we were made for love.

kids 3Made to love.

Built to access and share affection readily, easily, generously.

Like little kids do.

Remember?

Living with and among imperfect human beings, I’ve been hurt and I’ve seen others get hurt.

In the movies and on TV we see characters that give the appearance of being deeply satisfied, fully alive, and relationally connected without the risk of hurt and heartache that love requires.

Smooth operators.

Cool customers.

Cold lovers?

I once taught myself to live that way.

Denying what I was, and what I was made for… ‘till Christ captured my heart and taught me a new way: a risky way, a vulnerable, dangerous way. Since then, there’s been an accordion-like opening and closing, expanding and compressing of the affections my heart was meant to exude.

open 3This past decade I’ve been intentionally entering the rigor to open my heart wide and to war against the regular impulse to withhold my affection from those I influence. Imperfectly and purposefully I’m giving myself to this dangerous and delightful way of life. Calling others to engage in a “fair exchange” of affection.

What might God do among those you lead, if you were to give up trying to keep your heart “safe”?

What if you trusted God and opened your heart wide to those you lead?

Leveraging your love with them.