God is love and he created man in such a manner that he too could have a heart full of love. But a heart full of love does not necessarily mean that one’s heart is right with God. It is possible for our hearts to be overﬂowing with the wrong kind of love. The word of God abounds with warnings about the wrong kind of love and of its fatal consequences. Such love is just as fatal as having no love at all. Each of us should carefully examine our hearts and see if the love we have is the right kind of love — the love that is pleasing to God.
Is Your Heart Full of Love for Money?
Money is not wrong within itself. It is just a means of exchange by which we can obtain goods or services. But some of the strongest warnings found in the Bible are about money. Paul wrote, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Covetousness is the sin that leads to such an attitude toward money. Many times covetousness is the driving desire in seeking wealth. Jesus warned, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Wealth, when attained by even the spiritually minded, can overwhelm one. Thus Paul wrote Timothy to warn those who are rich, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to ﬁx their hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). In his warning, Paul took care of all contingencies. He warned about those who are seeking wealth and also those who already have it.
Is Your Heart Full of Love for the World?
Many are so infatuated with the allure of the world that they have no room in their heart for any other love. One cannot love the world and be pleasing to God. James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The power of the world’s allurement can be seen in this simple statement by Paul. “For Demas, having loved this present world …” (2 Timothy 4:10). There is nothing in this world, that entices one away from God, that will last. All that we might have of this world will pass away. The word of John should lead all to sober reﬂection. He said, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the ﬂesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Is Your Heart Full of Love for Pleasures?
We live in an age that is enticed by pleasure. Paul spoke of such when he warned of perilous times that would come. He said, “For men will be . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-5). Billions of dollars are made each year by industries whose sole purpose is to lead people away from God into the pleasures of the world. Millions of people are following in the footsteps of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. They are wasting their lives in pleasure-seeking. They are looking for the ultimate high. They think they are really living but as Paul spoke of the young widows, “But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). Many Christians ﬁnd themselves in the same situation and it is a tragic thing to see. Because they come “… choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke 8:14). These people need to come to the realization that Moses came to while in the palace of Pharaoh. Moses chose “… rather endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).
Is Your Heart Full of Love for Popularity?
How sad it is to see people who are more concerned with maintaining popularity with people rather than the approval of God. So many young people are very prone to this pernicious evil. They will sacriﬁce their future happiness in an effort to be popular. Mothers and fathers contribute greatly to this problem. They encourage their children to become involved in questionable activities and questionable people just so they will be popular. Many times they unwittingly instill in them this drive and desire, which is but a reﬂection of their unsatisﬁed ego. This evil is not limited to young people. It is also a problem among preachers. It is not wrong to have the approval of men. But when one must water down the truth to maintain such approval it is deplorable. All Christians and preachers especially, need to heed closely the words of Paul: “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Is Your Heart Full of Love for Preeminence?
I believe this is one of the biggest reasons for the fact that many churches have never had elders appointed. Many times there are those who are unqualiﬁed to the elders but have risen to a position of eminence and do not wish to lose such a position by the church have an eldership appointed. John warned of such a one when he said, “I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be ﬁrst among them, does not accept what we say” (3 John 9). What should be the attitude of all? Matthew 20:26-27 says, “It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be ﬁrst among you shall be your slave.”
Is Your Heart Full of Love for Self?
Many are so wrapped up in themselves that they have little love for others or for God. Romans 12:3 says, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” When we ﬁnd ourselves infatuated with self, think about these words, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). How can we make sure we have a heart full of the right kind of love? The answer is found in Colossians 3:1-2: “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
William H. Sowder