Love What Ought to Be Loved

Because what you love will determine who you are.

Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…

  - 2 Timothy 4.9, 10

No other outward thing ought to be loved, according to the reckoning of truth, except eternity and the eternal will, which is inspired and quickened by the Eternal, Wonderful, Ineffable, Invisible, Incomprehensible, Who fills all things and passes beyond all things, Who is present and yet eludes our grasp.

  - Columbanus, Sermon III, Irish, 7th century[1]

Paul wrote that love is the greatest virtue and affection (1 Cor. 13.13). A primary reason for this is that what we love determines so much else in our lives. If we love ourselves and our security, we may deny the Lord Who has saved us. If we love what is familiar rather than what we’re called to in the Kingdom, we may go fishing, when we should be seeking the promised power of God. This is why Jesus, in getting Peter back on track, asked him three times, “Do you love Me?”

What you love will determine what you seek, how you spend your time, and what you become.

Make sure that you love what you ought to love.

The greatest obstacle to our knowing, enjoying, and advancing the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit is our love for the material world. It tripped up even a colleague of the apostle Paul, and it can trip up you and me as well.

If gaining and enjoying this world’s goods or favor is the driving force for our lives, then Kingdom-seeking will never be anything more or other than a means to that end.

The desire for material comforts takes many forms: the lust for things, fear of being criticized or ostracized, diversions and entertainments, desire for advancement and esteem, love of ease and convenience, laziness, and much more.

If we love the world more than we love God, we will forsake – that’s the word, whether it takes the form of denial, neglect, or half-baked commitment – the cause for which Christ died, and saints risked their lives and wellbeing, at just the moment we most need to own, embrace, and pursue it.

We ought to love God and His Kingdom and will, for this is where our greatest happiness resides. But we cannot improve love for God without serious effort. Loving God involves seeking Him in His Word and prayer, waiting on Him throughout the day, being obedient to all that He commands, giving thanks in all things, rejoicing in His creation, and bearing witness to Him at every opportunity. Without these things in your life, fortifying your soul to love what you ought, love of the material world will infect your heart, mind, and conscience.

As image-bearers of God, we are made to love, for God is love. If we will not love Him supremely, we will love the world in one or another of its multitudinous forms.

We learn to love God by faithfully focusing on and following Him. The more we set our minds and hearts on knowing and loving God, and the more we seek Him in His Word and prayer, the more we will love Him, and the easier it will be to overcome love for the world. The more we love Him, the less likely we will be to forsake Him when push comes to shove in some conversation with an unbelieving friend, or in the face of some heavy temptation.

Will you love today what you ought to love? Or will you love some idol of this world, which can only disappoint, and can lead you to forsake your Kingdom-and-glory calling for a mess of pottage?

Today you will feed and cherish one or the other of these strong affections: love for God, or love for the world. Pray that you will love what you ought, so that you may realize more of the Lord’s presence, promise, and power.

Psalm 66.1-4, 17-20 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Shout for joy to God, all people, sing the glory of His Name!
Give Him glorious praise and say, “How great Your pow’r and great Your fame!”
All the earth shall worship gladly as they praise Your glorious Name.

When we cried to You, You answered, filled our mouths with highest praise.
Let not sin abide within us, lest we languish all our days.
Bless the Lord, Who hears our pleadings and preserves His love always.

I love You, Lord; help me to love You more, and keep me from loving the world and the things of the world.

Coming soon

Beginning this winter, Crosfigell will take you on a devotional journey through the Celtic Revival. Starting with the writings of Patrick, and working through those of Colum Cille, Columbanus, and others, we will open the spigot of this stream in historical order. Please keep us in prayer as we work on this series. Encourage your friends to subscribe to Crosfigell. And, if you’d like to familiarize yourself a bit more with the Celtic Revival, write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request the free PDF, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction. Or from our bookstore, order a copy of The Legacy of Patrick (click here).

As you pray…
Would you prayerfully consider helping The Fellowship? Take a few minutes today and ask the Lord whether He would have you share with us regarding the financial needs of this ministry. God supplies all our needs, and He does so through friends who share our vision and benefit from our ministry. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1]Walker, p. 75.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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