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Love is a two-way street. Both the person offering love and the person receiving love must be willing participants.
What happens if you pour water into a cup with holes and take a drink? You’ll probably end up with more water on the outside of your body than on the inside. If your goal is to cool off, a cup with holes is okay. But if you’re thirsty, such a cup doesn’t work well.
Having a negative self-worth is like having holes in your cup. God can pour all of His love into you, but if you ignore, reject, or lack the ability to hold onto it, you won’t feel love for very long.
Everybody has holes in their cup. That’s a consequence of living in a fallen world. Even with the holes, there is hope.
Jesus said we shouldn’t put new wine into old wineskins. Why did He say this?
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”Mark 2:18-22 NIV
Jesus is teaching about compatibility. Sometimes old ways of living are not compatible with new ways. The new wine needs to breathe, so it needs a wineskin that can expand. Old wineskins are less flexible than new ones. Your old way of living, your flesh, is not compatible with your new way of living in the Spirit.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
The old ways lead to death, but the new ways lead to life.
Receive Love With A New Heart
God gives a new heart to all believers.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
A heart of stone cannot receive God’s love. There’s no way to grow spiritually if you cannot receive His love. So God gives you a new heart that can receive His Spirit. With your new heart, you can enjoy spiritual growth.
Receive Love By Finding Leaks
Your new heart is all you need, but your old heart lives on in this life. If you can understand how your old heart is broken, you can minimize your losses.
The Spirit and flesh are at odds with each other. The lies you believe about yourself drain your self-worth. There’s a battle going on inside of you. Do you trust your old heart or your new heart?
The fleshly heart bears a wound. Nothing much can be done about it. The flesh wants to resist and complain. Everyone who feels miserable and hopeless is going to oppose God.
Fortunately for those of us with new hearts, we can choose to focus on the Spirit. We can experience peace and hope. Shift your focus today to your new heart. It’s as real as your old heart. It’s going to last forever while your flesh is already dying and actually already dead (Galatians 5:24). Hold open your new heart so you can catch God’s love. Allow this connection with God to be more important than the messages you receive from your old heart.
If you struggle with understanding how to do this, seek out a Christian counselor or other trusted person to help you.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.