Love Wars

Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:27)

Every moment of every day there is a battle going on inside the heart. I call these battles “love wars.” We love God and we love the things of this world. Sometimes we love God more and sometimes we love Him less. Often the temporal pleasures of this life kidnap the heart, causing it to beat for a great many things smaller than Jesus.

It’s easy to know when the world has won the war; whenever I say, “I simply must have ____________!” Whatever fills that blank is what I love most at that time. That thing is serving as my functional god. Within every one of us, the love of self always wars against our love of the Savior. And if we are honest, we will confess that the love of self wins the battle far too often.

I am speaking to myself every bit as much as I am speaking to everyone who will read this article. Physical experiences often trump spiritual experiences. The temporal things of this world tend to rule my life and shape my heart. Sometimes it is more important for me to be comfortable than to be compassionate. At other times it is more important for me to be right than to be loving and kind.

When the world wins the battle for my heart, I have a tendency to forget the promise of eternal life that awaits me in glory, and this is when I let things smaller than God sit upon the throne of my life, directing my desires, dominating my decisions, and determining my daily destiny to an altogether unrealized extent. And let me make this clear: often these things are not bad things in and of themselves. They are often good things; but when they become ultimate things, then they become bad things. In reality, the only truly ultimate thing in this life and in the life to come is Jesus Christ.  

If we are going to win the love war in the heart, we must remember that we are always loving something. To not love is an impossibility. Because God is love and we bear His image, we will always be loving something. The key is to identify what it is we are in love with. We will always be confronted by two choices throughout the day: We can love the Creator or we can love the created thing. Now, it’s OK to love what God has created — we can love our family, we can love our pets, we can love the beauty of nature — but we are never to love any of these more than we love the Creator.

So … what have you been loving most lately? Who has been winning the love war in your heart? Your Creator or some created thing? Here is an invaluable principle I learned a long time ago: there is no need to love created things less, because God created all things good. The key is to love God more. At this level of living, we have our love rightly ordered, and we will find ourselves winning the love wars more and more each day.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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