Disordered Love

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” Matthew 10:37

Disordered Love  

The title “Disordered Love” comes from the classic writings, “Confessions”, of Saint Augustine an influential monk who lived in the 4th to 5th centuries.  Augustine was concerned about our sin nature and the difficulty we find in mastering it.  He was perplexed by this never-ending battle and our struggle to find contentment and maintain joy. His conclusion: our loves are out of order.  In other words, we love certain things, or even certain people, more than we should; and, the One we should love first and most, our heavenly Father, Christ, and Holy Spirit has dropped far down the list.  For Augustine, it is not what we believe or think that changes behavior; it is what or whom we love the most that does!  

Perhaps Augustine reasoned this idea from the words of Christ in Matthew 10:37 (above).  Jesus declared that we must love him more than anyone (and I might add, anything); saying, that if we do not, we are not worthy of him.  That may sound harsh, but when you look at the meaning of the Greek word “worthy”, it becomes clear.  That word is “axios” (Strong’s 514) and can be defined as “of weight or to weigh.”  The greatest love for most of us would be a father, mother, son or daughter, someone close to you.  However, you must not even let these loves be greater, or “weighted” more valuable than Him. Jesus asks that we do not place the love of anyone (or anything) above Him; because, He knows that only the love of Him can cause us to be strong enough to be victorious over the things of this world or our sin nature.  What you love the most and to the greatest degree will be what influences you the most.  If that is not Christ, then your love for Christ is too small or “weighed” too little to have any kind of lasting effect. Jesus, in the Parable of the Sower, states that the things of this world and our desire for other things can choke out the seeds (words) that he wants to plant in our heart.  What is at the root of placing “things above Him”?  Why do things or relationships become so valued and treasured that they would choke out His Word?  Could it be because you love them more than Him?  I think so!  

Saint John tells us, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I John 2:15   I think Saint Augustine would rephrase it this way: if you love anything or anyone more than the Father, your love is disordered or weighted too little.  This means you really do not have love for the Father at all because you are willing to allow your love for another or things choke out your love for Him. Saint Paul, in Romans 8:5–8, reminds us, “the mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”  Why is this?  Because, at the heart of being controlled by your sinful nature, your love is disorder! This displeases God. He knows what will bring you the most satisfaction and that would be Him.  He must have first place in your life. The only source for overcoming the sinful nature is to grow more and more deeply in love with the Father, Christ and Holy Spirit.  Your love for Him cannot have second place, third place, or any place other than first in your heart.  Only then can you truly be content, walk in the joy that Christ died to give you and enjoy His presence daily. Your ever-increasing love for Him will cause an ever-increasing joy!  Joy is always a biproduct of love. John 15:9-13

Love can be measured.  What is the measure of your love for your heavenly Father, Christ and Holy Spirit?  You can know the answer to that question, by asking yourself, what do you think about the most?  Who is on your mind the most?  What or whom is your greatest treasure? How would you answer these questions? How would those who know you the most, say you love the most? 

Love’s Influence For Everyone, LIFE- to the fullest, is available to you.  If you want it, continue to seek and love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and with all your strength!  After all, that is the greatest, first, and most important command.  Now you know why!

J.W. Brinkley