"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Difficulty in Loving God for God...Nothing More or Less

"Which do you love more: your dream or God?  Do you love God for what He can do for you? Or do you love Him for who He is?  In its purest, most primal form, loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is loving God for God. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else."



Arrrrrrrgh!!  Sounds so beautiful, doesn't it? But how hard it is!

How do you just love God for who He is?

Yes, I know I just read this whole book that dealt with this topic, but when Mark put this quote on one of the last few pages, I felt like throwing up my hands as I contemplated how in the world to love God for being God.

And nothing else.

Do we love anybody that way?  Is our love that primal? that pure?  Or do we love most anyone or anything mostly, partly or even teensy weensily because of either what they can do for us, how they make us feel or how they encourage, bless us, love us in return.
Is our love ever that pure?

Even with newborn babies, don't we love them somewhat because they make us feel complete, they bring us joy, they need us, look at us with trust as they hold our fingers?

Are we capable of loving God for God? Or are we only able to love Him based on things He does for us? Healing, showing mercy, demonstrating love, creating, sustaining ...  What do you think? 

And also, how do you love God?
 
quote from Primal, Mark Batterson - pg. 165

12 comments:

sarah said...

I love God for what He has given me and for what He has promised me. I pray because I hope/expect a response as God promised.

But I think that is Ok. How can we love God for God when we dont fully understand Him? Also, the scriptures constantly point to what God has made for us Earth, trees, water, prophets, etc. Isnt it because of these we love Him?

When we give a present we do it because it makes us happy to see them happy. Perhaps this is like Gods love for us, He is benevolent and gives because He is selfless, we are flawed and selfish but it doesnt diminish Gods greatness because we are.

Wafa' said...

Do we or can we love anything or anyone for the sake of love only without any purposes !!! . i guess that would be a very high level of love.
So back to the first question: Do you love God for what He can do for you? Or do you love Him for who He is? . tough one but let me try my best. I love Him but sometimes i feel like i fear Him more than i love Him.
I love Him for all the good things He gave me and still. For blessing me with so much , just giving me my mom is enough for me. I love Him for giving me this heart i have, which i love most about me,. For making me a good person, and i guess i am.
I fear Him because i am starting , for about a few years now, to think outside the box. The box that our scholars told us to think of God only inside its border, not outside. I keep wondering what if they are right and i am wrong !!!
Why i fear that? because i am afraid of losing what i have now and go back to our old life. So even my fear seems like in the benefit of my interests, right?

See i told you it's tough to love for the sake of love only. But in general i love the God i know and fear the one i read about in our most Islamic books .

Sarah said...

I guess if you strip God of his attributes, what are you left with? Nothing comprehensible. So it seems to me you have to love him for his attributes.

I love people both for their attributes and/or because I have a bond of some kind with them and I care for them. So love is adoration, but it is also caring. Maybe different types of love, I don't know. I suppose in terms of God, the caring love might translate into seeking to please him?

Suroor said...

"I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God." - Rabia Al Basri

Lat said...

To love God for who and what He is.Never mind if I do not know Him ,nothing of Him or not enough of Him,simply because He loves me! The world and nature is the proof.
So love 'God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is loving God for God'.

Susanne said...

Sarah, I tend to agree with you. I think this post was written out of frustration in how do we possibly "love God for God" WITHOUT relating it to His being our creator, sustainer and giving us all good things to enjoy. I think I was trying too hard to love God in a way that He doesn't require.

Maybe.

We don't love people/things for no reason. I think God created our emotions and responses, therefore, "feeling" something is fine and part of loving God for God.

Thanks for helping me clarify that!

Susanne said...

Wafa', what a rich comment. Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts so forthrightly! I greatly enjoyed them!

"I fear Him because i am starting , for about a few years now, to think outside the box. The box that our scholars told us to think of God only inside its border, not outside. I keep wondering what if they are right and i am wrong !!!"

I tend to think scholars sometimes have control/power/want to be in charge issues. NOT all of them for sure, but maybe they live in fear so they pass along their fear to others believing it's the right way. I don't know. I can't really judge them and their hearts to say what motivates them. But I would be more fearful of not thinking beyond the box to make sure. What if they are wrong and you trusted your eternity to their thinking? Islam - some say - wants people to use their intellect and reasoning and encourages learning so I don't see why the scholars should be threatened with people who do just that. Same for Christian/Jewish/Hindu..whatever believers. We each answer to God for our own selves. We can't use the excuse that we believed this way because such and such scholar told us this was the right way. So I think we are all wise to not take the scholars' words for it, but to search and get to know God outside of dogmas and books and others' ideas.

I think you summed this up somewhat in saying,

"But in general i love the God i know and fear the one i read about in our most Islamic books ."

If you KNOW God and He is different from what Islamic books (written by MEN) say, then who should you trust? God or men? I think men often have twisted reasons and some will seek to control people by fear. When it's God or men that I'm debating, I want to always follow the God I know instead of the one men (or women) make Him out to be.

Really loved what you said. Thanks much!

Susanne said...

Sarah, I think you summed it up well. Thanks! That's actually the conclusion I am reaching. I simply don't know how to love God any other way. :)

Susanne said...

Suroor, I first heard that quote in a Christian Arab's book. He wanted to love God that way. I also don't want to love Him simply because He may reward me with Heaven or keep me out of hell. Maybe loving God for God IS about loving Him for the Sustainer and Giver of life that He is...not to mention all the wonderful creative things He's given us to enjoy.

Perhaps loving Him for these things is enough..or on the path to being enough.

Susanne said...

Lat, loved what you said! Indeed!

The Bible says "we love Him because He first loved us." So it seems even our abilities to relate to Him in love come from God. Well, the Bible declares God IS love so ... :)



Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I enjoyed them all so much!

Wafa' said...

(If you KNOW God and He is different from what Islamic books (written by MEN) say, then who should you trust? God or men? )

you are so evil , lady :)

And you know what i trust God.

Have i told you before how lots of your posts changed me and give me courage? You are amazing friend.

Susanne said...

So I'm evil and an amazing friend all in one comment! Thanks, Wafa'!!!!

:-D :-D :-D

You made me laugh!