The ultimate disordered love

By Dave Henning / February 23, 2024

“Augustine . . . observed that the heart’s loves have an order to them, and that we often love less important things more and the more important things less. . . .  The ultimate disordered love, however — and the ultimate source of our discontent — is failure to love the first thing first, the failure to love God supremely.”- Timothy Keller (emphasis author’s)

As Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 4 of Making Sense of God, he covers the final two strategies people take toward their discontent.

6.  Cynicism.  As sophisticated and urbane people reach middle age, they lower their expectations of life.  While this may sound sensible, Pastor Keller sees it as problematic in two ways:

  • this stance almost always creates a certain amount of condescension toward anyone not as sophisticated or ironic as you; a self-righteous attitude.
  • on a more serious note, you harden your heart against hope and dehumanize yourself.

7.  Detachment.  To diminish your love for others, Timothy stresses, fails to increase satisfaction.  Instead, it undermines it.  Ultimately, then, it also hardens your heart and deprives you of positive human qualities.

However, the Christian philosopher Augustine provided a time-tested explanation of our enduring discontent.  Above all, he concluded that our discontent contains both a functional cause and an ultimate source.

Augustine stated that the functional cause of our discontent centers on our disordered loves.  In addition, what you love most at the moment controls your actions at that moment.  Therefore, you are what you love.

In conclusion, whether we acknowledge God or not, God created us to know the joy of God’s love as we glorify and love Him above all.  Furthermore, Pastor Keller underscores, if you love anything more than God you harm yourself and the world around you.  As a result, you end up deeply dissatisfied and discontent.

Finally, C. S. Lewis adds:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you avoid the ultimate disordered love?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Grasp and be gripped by Jesus”

About the author

Dave Henning

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