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
Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…
- 2 Timothy 4.9, 10
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 or merely within our reach, rather than what we’re called to in the Kingdom of God, 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. Columbanus was right to instruct his monks to make sure they love above all else that which directs them to Jesus, and enhances their love for Him.
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 have 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, denying ourselves and our interests or preferences in order to serve others. Without these things in your life, fortifying your soul to love what you ought, then 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.
1. How can we know when we are loving the world and its ways more than God and His?
2. What can you do today to begin developing a stronger love for God and His Kingdom?
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.
Help me to love You more, O Lord, and especially today as I…
How can you love God more?
Your prayers and support
It is our privilege to serve you, and our joy to have you share with us in this work. The Lord supports our work through the prayerful and generous gifts of those who share our vision and are served by our ministry. Please join us in praising Him for His kindness in supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe. I ask you to seek Him in prayer, and ask Him whether He might be pleased to use you in the financial support of our work. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Walker, p. 75.