How Can I perfectly Love God?
learn the many facets of love and grow into perfect love of god
What a gruesome sight! And this is love. Do we really understand what love is? Probably not. God showed us love–perfect love–but the evil one has confused us as to this reality, so we won’t strive to love like Christ, but rather to love like the world.
Loving like Christ is one full of suffering–love of the cross–but we don’t want it. We beg and beg God to remove our crosses, so we won’t be like Him. Do we really know what love is?
Yet, God told us “I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).
Therefore, Jesus, the example of perfect love, is who we should follow if we are to perfectly love Him.
Hopefully after reading this article, we will have a better understanding of the different kinds of love: perfect love, true love, selfish love, sensual love, and false love, and how to grow in love so to one day love God perfectly.
What is Perfectly Loving God?
Like I said, God shows and tells us what perfectly loving Him is. It is by doing what Jesus would and did do. Well, what did Jesus do? He did exactly as the Father willed and lived in perfect obedience to the Father–never sinning. He wasn’t defiant doing what He thought best…what He wanted to do…no, Christ was “obedient even unto death, death on a cross.” Therefore, to perfectly love God, we must strive to do the same.
We can’t love God if we are doing as we wish? We aren’t we are wounding Him. To love God, we go to Him so to accept God’s grace to learn how to let go of our will (sin) for His and learn how submit to others (not demanding what we want)….so we can lose our sinful will and replace it with God’s (sin-free will) so we can perfectly obey/love Him.
Loving God is by not offending Him–doing what He would do.
“Those who love me will keep my word.” (John 14:23)
God wrote the commandments–His entire Word–so we can live a wonderful life loving Him and obtain Eternal Life through that love. Therefore, if we desire to perfectly love God, we need to seek God’s mercy to do as He wills and stop offending Him, which will be done by love of the cross.
But most of us don’t want to love God; we want God to love us, to heal us, to give us what we desire. And God does love and heal us, but not so we can simply take His love, but to give it back and love Him in return.
How do we love God for all for all of the good He has done for us, by striving to never offend Him again, by striving to “become perfect, as your Heavenly Father is Perfect” (Matthew 5:48)–so we can grow in faith to where we are unable to choose to sin again. Yes, God expects us to want to become like Him–PERFECT. That is how we follow Christ and love Him.
But most sadly, the evil one has deceived many of us into thinking that becoming perfect isn’t even possible. Bounds of people will tell us “we can’t be perfect”; that “only God is perfect”…that “God doesn’t want us to be perfect.” Oh, the misguided love of others is killing us. All this does is discourage us from seeking to perfectly love God and encourage us to live complacent with our offences against Him. How horrible!
Some saints were able to grow in so much love with God, that they were never able to choose to sin again, and we can too. Believe!
Sure there is a certain level of perfection that is only possible with our earthly bodies, who’s nature is that of sin. To learn more please read, “What is the Desire to Sin.” But we can have God’s grace constantly renew within us to where we will never be able to sin again–never be guilty of sin again. Yes, this is most possible. And this is how we perfectly love God.
“Since that day [when I had made my Act of Oblation on June 9, 1895], love has surrounded me and penetrated me through and through. Moment by moment, the Merciful Love of God renews and cleanses me and leaves my heart without a trace of sin.”
–St. Thérèse of Lisieux
What is this Perfection We Should Seek?
To never offend God involves a lot. And God expects us to seek His grace to do it all, if we really want to love Him. The entire Word, The Mass and everything we do should be done seeking to perfectly love God–so to be free of sin.
To never sin–to perfectly love God–means we must ALWAYS LOVE, which is to:
- always do what God wants us to do at all times (have no self-will)
- always fulfill every facet of God’s Word perfectly (commit no sins)
Yes, this is hard, since by nature we do all for self-love (not to love God). But in time God’s grace will make it easy, if we allow Him. We can learn how to reject our will for God’s and reject evil and choose good. Then our self-willed actions and our sins we chose, which brought upon all kinds of anxieties will leave. We will live a life of wonderful peace…truly loving God, with real hope, walking with Jesus to Heaven.
If we have prayed The Mass, we know we ask God to make us perfect (free from all sin) during each Eucharistic celebration we partake in. This is what we all should be striving for–to perfectly love God–to always be free from sin, with our every thought, word and deed.
“Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy [grace], we may be ALWAYS free from sin and safe from all distress [through trusting/loving God], as we await the blessed hope [from living the faith] and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Doxology)
From living The Word and praying The Mass, we know this–surrendering of our will and sin–is the foundation of how to perfectly love God, and what we need strive with all of our hearts to do if we desire to wait in joyful hope for the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Since, as I said, we can’t live the faith or love God or accept saving forgiving mercy, if we seek to do what we want and we surely can’t live the faith and love God if we are offending Him.
The following are just some examples of the perfections God desire of us to seek His transforming grace so we can love Him:
- always pray (unceasingly) (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- always forgive (no matter what, for we ourselves are great sinners) (Mark 11:25)
- always seek the salvation of souls (which is the entire purpose God came to earth) (
Different Kinds of Love
We “say” we love God, but what kind of love do we really have? How great is our love? Is it a love that is true enough in which we can accept God’s forgiving mercy for all of our sins? “The one to whom little is forgiven, loves little” (Luke 7:49).
How close to perfectly loving God are we?
Let’s learn what kind of love we have and how we can come to love God with all of our hearts so we can perfectly love God.
But before we can love God correctly…the way He loves us, it will be most helpful for us to understand the different kinds of love, so we can learn where we are and what we are aiming for.
Different kinds and degrees of love :
- perfect love -is when we possess all of the qualities of true love and we love God so greatly, we have perfectly surrendered our sinful will for God’s perfect will. Now, nothing we do is our own, but God’s perfect grace, working perfectly through us causing us to no longer be able to offend God again and perfectly love Him.
- true love -is when our hearts long to know, serve and love God and are willing to suffer and sacrifice what we want to do that. It is a love so great that we no longer desire anything of this world (nothing of pleasure) or sin (no habitual sins)…we just seek to live for God and His will and strive to constantly have our thoughts fixed on Him so to not fall. True love hates to offend the one we love, and would rather suffer anything even death rather than offend God, whom we should be loving with our whole heart, even with the slightest sin. True love is when our hearts desire to love and serve God and wants nothing in return for our actions: no blessings, no love–we just want to love and serve, not to be loved or served. (desire for self-love/selfishness has been removed). True love is a love for another above ourselves.
- paternal/maternal/fraternal/ownership love-is the love like a parent has for their child. It is an unconditional love (as long as we are willing to tolerate their wrongs) that forgives when errors are made and helps when malice is given. But when the crosses out way the perks, for those lacking grace, this love can leave and become replaced with selfish love. Parents and married couples can have this love, which bears a heart of great forgiveness, but when it leaves, it can bear equal hatred in return. We should desire to have this love for all children of God, no matter what wrongs others commit, since we are sinners too (perhaps in different ways) but we too are in need of mercy (forgiveness).
- selfish love (which is the love most of us have with God and others)-is a love that wants to be loved in return. When we have it with others, we want to be respected, treated equal, etc. When we have it with God, we love Him when things go well and are in despair when they don’t (saying we love/trust Him when we prove we don’t). With this love, we serve God/do good for another, but we do it seeking for God to bless us in return (which can be good or selfish)…If we are seeking a blessings so we can be strengthened so we won’t ever offend God again, that is good. But if we are looking for the blessings so, lets say, we can have a better life for ourselves that is for selfish reasons (from our pride). Doing anything good with having the end goal to benefit ourselves is part of selfish love. In our marriages, if we have selfish love, we love our spouse for the joy they bring us…not to love and serve them wanting nothing in return as we joyfully carry any cross for the salvation of their soul (like someone with true love does). The whole reason our marriages and our relationship with God fails is because we love with selfish love. We don’t live to serve and suffer so to love God, we live to make our lives better and get what we want.
- sensual love – is when we feel we love someone, but it isn’t true love…it is really sexual/selfish love–it is a “you make me feel so good” type of love. Because once someone doesn’t continue to make us It is driven from our sexuality not heart/soul. Most marriages have sensual love (at least in the beginning) and selfish love, but not true love (which is why our marriages fail and lack joy–its because we aren’t loving like Christ).
- false love – there are many kinds of false love…but it is any love we profess with our words, but in our actions we show malice. This love is sadly in all of our lives to some degree until we obtain perfect love, because we can’t really love God if we are offending Him. Therefore, until God’s love consumes us perfectly and constantly renews within us, we will one minute love God and the next hate Him. But having this love combined with true love constantly dwelling within us is what gives us the forgiveness we need (to be saved) for all of our moments that we falsely love God.
We can see love in its different forms and intensities in many aspects of our lives. Let’s look at the developing person to see the various kinds of love in our lives. A young child, for example, who is so young they can’t talk but has grown enough to recognize their parents absolutely loves their parents. Why? What kind of love is that?
Well, when someone does good for us and cares for us, we love them in return. The more time someone spends caring for us the greater bond of love for them we can develop. A child knows who feeds them and cares for them. By human nature, we love them and want to be with the ones who care for us.
Now, what kind of love is this? True love? No…Is it sensual, paternal/maternal, or perfect love?….no. Actually, it is selfish love.
I know when we hear the word “selfish” we think all sorts of horrible things associated with that…and true, it isn’t pure nor the desired love we are aiming for, but selfish love is the beginning of the process we will take to grow into truly loving God or anyone.
Parents love being with their babies. Why? Because they bring them joy…oh, looking at their cuteness, receiving their smile of love and/or watch them grow, and so much more. Our children bring us pleasure, and we love them for that. But that is selfish (doing or liking something for our own benefit)
There might be some who strictly love our babies because they simply belong to us, and we don’t run to them and love them for all of the “feel good” moments they bring, which is pure paternal love. But most of us have selfish love (wanting something) intermingled with that pure paternal/maternal love.
However, this pure paternal/maternal love is not necessarily a gift from accepting God’s grace, as even atheists can have a true paternal/maternal love for their child. This love can come simply from our human nature.
But for most of us, the love we have for our children is derived from some amount of selfish love combined with paternal/maternal love, but we want it to grow into true love.
Everyone, who sins, outside of a few very blessed saints, starts out our relationship with God from no real love or from selfish love, since we love God for all the good He does or has done for us.
‘We love [God] because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
And that isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t good either. Yes, loving someone for the “good” they do or have done for us is selfish…it is loving for what we can get or have received, but that kind of love can bring about true love and then perfect love.
Sure we must have an attitude of gratitude for all God has done for us, but we want to mature in our thinking/faith into a true and then perfect love of God…especially since selfish love doesn’t embrace God’s saving mercy.
To understand this more clearly, ask yourself, “Does Christ love us for all of the good we do for Him?” No. If He did, He would hate us, since we are so dreadfully sinful.
Frankly, from a lack of much grace, most don’t do anything truly good. Yet, Christ left Heaven to take on the form of sin (our sinful nature), died for us to forgive our sins, showed us how to accept and keep His free gift to obtain Heaven and helps us daily to hopefully get us there.
“In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we [sinners] might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God [we have sinned], but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
He did all of this for us–for the sinner–not because of the good we are doing for Him or how good we make Him feel or what we have done, but from perfect love.
When Selfish Love Turns Bad
However, selfish love much of the time does’t grow into true love, and then it can lead to great sin.
When selfish love turns bad, we stop loving someone for the good they have done, and we only love them when they are doing good for us–when we are getting what we want. We forget about the past.
This is the kind of love that destroys families, marriages and pretty much everything in life. It is the root of unforgiveness of all sorts and the killer of souls.
When we suffer from selfish love gone wrong, we live life not seeking to love, but wanting to be loved by others. We will love others only with the hopes of getting love in return and when we don’t get it we are unhappy. “I have done all of this for you, and what have you have done for me?” is the attitude of those suffering from deadly selfish love.
Oh, for those with deadly selfish love, God isn’t our everything as we seek His love alone…no….everyone else around us is. And if we aren’t being loved, we are despondent or even depressed.
We see this broken love in marriages and families all of the time. People choose to marry when we aren’t truly in love or even aiming for true love, since we don’t know or understand what that is.
Oh, we start out so happy, “I love my spouse he/she makes me feel loved, special and valuable.” “I would die without him/her.” “She/He completes me.”
We love our spouses for the “good feelings” they make us have. We are full of a great overwhelming sincere of love for them–but sadly, it is just selfish love. And from that selfish love not transforming into true love and becoming bad, we fall into destructive patterns of deadly selfish love.
Then, when those good feelings of selfish love begin to dwindle through trials and tribulations or just time, all we have left is just a commitment. Next, we either find something else to fill our desire for selfish love…work, hobbies, friends, etc. and/or we become miserable…complaining, being angry, dwelling in self-pity at our lack of selfish love we aren’t receiving (not getting what we want from others).
Each person responds differently to a lack of selfish love, but for those who live for such love from others, it is followed by depression/self-pity/demands/anger/complaints… “Oh, my spouse doesn’t even know our kids,” we will exclaim, as we demand our spouse to do more… “Am I a slave, who does everything around here,” we will declare as we brew in self-pity thinking we do all of the work. “My spouse is so boring…I deserve better,” as we pridefully think, we deserve a better life. “I work hard all day and what do you do?” as we tell our spouse they are useless and we are the great one. “My spouse doesn’t want to have sex,” as we see our spouse as an object to satisfy our sexual desires to get what we want….oh, we complain and complain and complain. This leads to endless marital problems.
If one’s spouse is unhappy and complains and the other spouse doesn’t change to fit the demands and selfish love isn’t restored, there is now a break down in the marriage (irrreconcilable differences), since what we were living for is now gone.
But that is far from the plan God has for marriages. To learn more please read, “God’s Plan for Family and Friends.”
In a house of selfish love gone wrong, each member looks to make the other do “good” for them, to make their life better, fair, to do what they want…to make them happy. Not that both working as a teem is wrong, but if that is what love is, we are dead.
Then, from seeking this happiness, we will give to our spouse, but only if we believe we are getting what we think we deserve in return or we have no other choice as something worse might happen.
While those with successful marriages have figured out if we keep our spouse happy, we are happy, since they will treat us well. Plus by nature, we like to make others happy, so we do what they want to make peace and make us happy.
This is how most marriages stay intact through the mutual giving in order to receive selfish love in return…sadly, most have never grown into true love. But for some, since their selfish and sensual love is so strong, they whole heartedly believe they truly love one another, but most don’t know what truly loving how Christ loves is.
In many marriages, if we do choose to carry a cross in our relationship, since one won’t do their fair share, what we want, suffers from some sin or for some other reason, most will complain about it and/or only tolerate it for so long. Then we bitterly reject it as we peruse a life of self-love away from Christ’s life of peace (trust in the cross), seeking that temporary happiness that comes from the world through abandonment of the cross.
If we do bear a cross with or without complaint, most of the time we are priding ourselves on how “good” of a spouse we are, loosing all merit from God, since we have sought it in the form of pride.
But this problem with selfish love going wrong isn’t only isolated to marriages, it is in all aspects of our lives. The reason we do most everything is because we like it and want the feel good experiences from it. Then when what we are doing stops being fun, even if it is good, we begin to leave it for something more enjoyable.
Oh, even parents will love our child for all of the “feel good” moments they bring, and we might tolerate a certain amount of problems, like a spouse would if the pros out weigh the cons. But a parents tolerance is mostly from paternal/maternal love hoping the “feel good” moments of a happy family life will someday out weigh the bad and making tolerating the bad worth it.
But many times if our child doesn’t fill our selfish want for respect, authority, and/or love–as we suffer from selfish love–and they do something to offend us, we will become dispondant, some might not forgive them, or not speak to them, or even disown our own child. This broken behavior occurs because we are greatly lacking in true love, even parental love and our desire for power over them is so great, we will even forfeit selfish love to feel vindicated. Oh, the sins we have.
While others, who are greatly offended, who are less wanting of power, but wanting of family love, and will do anything to keep the family intact even ignoring the sins of others or placating them, since they live for the happy family they desire (just another form of selfish love). Oh, there are so many ways we seek selfish love that are rejecting real happiness for the world.
The problem is we don’t know what true love is nor seek to live it.
Love but not Real Love
Another problem is, many will do an act of charity/love (even a great one) in one aspect of our marriages or family life or life in general, thinking from that one act or even several acts, we are really a great spouse/family member/person, especially if others seem happy with us. Then, from our pride, we don’t see the billions of other ways we aren’t loving how Christ loves.
Much of the time, this act of charity we performed that we think is loving how Christ loves, in God’s eyes isn’t even real love at all.
The love we give much of the time is so far from Jesus’ love, it is a love seeking to make others happy. Did Jesus come to earth to make us “happy”…hum…no. Is that what Christ really did? Did He say things, buy things or do things just to make others feel good? Do we hear about the bounds of complements He gave, great parties He held, or plentiful gifts He bought…ah, no.
The love we give, much of the time, isn’t really the love Christ gave. It is a love to boost our own self-love. Christ didn’t say things to make friends–even though of course, we don’t want to make enemies–but He said and did everything to bring the truth, for the salvation of souls.
Much of the time, doing those worldly things we do that make others happy isn’t necessarily bad, unless we are causing someone else to become attached to the world, but most of the time they aren’t truly good either.
Sadly, most of us, from the devil deceiving us are blind to what is truly good. Then from priding ourselves on the good we believe we do, we have lost sight of many of our wrongs we ignore…then we never learn what is truly good, or our sins , nor grow into the image of Christ and love how He loves.
Honestly, we want to feel like we are good loving people…not sinners in need of a Savior. From being tricked away from The Way, we live to give and receive a life of pleasure. We don’t want the cross of Christ nor contrition for our sin, or to love like Him…not all of the time or in every way…most have been deceived resulting in us not even striving for that goal, since we don’t even know this should be our goal.
Since we want a self-satisfying life of pleasure, tragically, much of our life is given to the evil one (the World). But that isn’t what God chose…and if we desire to love Him perfectly, we need to follow Him and the example He gave us. What a fantastic example that is!
What is true love? What is this love Christ gives us? Is it loving those who can’t love us back? Yes; when we love how Christ loves, we don’t seek to be loved; we seek to give love. But is that all that makes up true love? No, actually, there is much more.
Let’s look at the married couple again. Let’s say one spouse gets cancer and the other, from their great love, gives all of themselves to care for the other.
“Now, surely that is true love,” some will say. Well, that can be an act done from true love, but we must remember, even some athiest’s, who love their spouses, will care for them as they die too…so there must be more to true love–loving how Christ loves–than simply loving someone when they can’t return love to us.
You see the athiest, who still has a strong marriage, might feel a strong ethical bond to commitment and/or perhaps have great love for his wife from that selfish love, most of us have. It just never went bad. The athiest continues to remember the wonderful life they had together, over looking the bad, as they grew to care/love for each other for all the good they have done for one another, which is beautiful, but it isn’t true love.
You see Christ, however, doesn’t just love those who have loved Him, even though Christ wants to be loved. But regardless of if He receives love or not, He loves everyone…especially those who hurt (offend) Him. Like Our Lord said, someone might find it noble to die for the righteous, but who is going to give their life for a criminal/a sinner.
“Perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7).
But forget about giving up our life for those who offend us, are we willing to even think a kind thought, pray a real prayer or do anything truly good for someone who constantly hurts us? Do we have a heart of true forgiveness like Christ…true love?
If we do, then when we aren’t loved and are hurt by another, we will trust in God’s will (what He allows) as good (God’s divine providence-what He will use for good), have great sorrow for the sin another has committed against us and God. We will still love them and even more greatly desire to serve/help our offender, as we feel badly for their lack of grace to love.
From God’s love dwelling within us, we won’t become angry or depressed, when we don’t receive love/kindness from another. That abuse/mistreatment/wrongdoing won’t sway our desire to love unconditionally and live to serve them like Christ. No, we will joyfully carrying our cross for them, praying much grace is sent to them, as we do good for our offender for the salvation of their souls…just like Christ does for us.
This is the kind of love that converts the selfish into images of Christ and saves souls. This is the love the athiest doesn’t have. This is how we really love Christ and love like Christ has loved us.
But when we greatly lack the love of Christ in our hearts, even others mistakes are a problem for us and a cause of complaint. Inconveniences are pridefully scoffed at–even someone cutting us off in traffic is a moment of anger. When someone wrongs us we don’t let it fall off of us and/or have pity for them, we will have pity for ourselves for having been wronged. We won’t love like Christ loves, but we seek what benefits us, what is kind to us and what is the way we want. We don’t want or accept our cross to save souls; WE ARE SELF-CONCERNED.
Many say we believe in God and claim we love Him, but what kind of belief and love do we really have when God allows tragedy to occur in our lives; what happens? Do we trust in what God allows knowing He will make all good…suffering and all. No, sadly, most reject God’s cross…complain, worry, wanting our will.
“Charity [love of God] is a right attitude of mind which prefers nothing to the knowledge of God…For anyone who really loves God prefers to know and experience God rather than his creatures. The whole set and longing of his mind is ever directed towards Him [not towards any worldly pleasure or person].”
–St. Maximus the Confessor
We don’t want to love Him by trusting in Him as we carry our cross for the salvation of souls. We selfishly want things our way, the easy cross free way, as if we know better than God. Where is our belief now?
Some will become so angry with God, for not getting want we desire and allowing us or someone we love to suffer–then, from selfish love going bad, we turn from Him and even perhaps stop any kind of love all together and maybe even lose all belief. Oh, how sad.
What Do We Do With Our Crosses?
To love God and carry our cross, what does God want us to do in our marriages, families or life if we have to suffer? Are we just supposed to let our spouse ignore our children, lay around and have us be a slave, watch our spouse long for a better husband/wife, put us down, and be treated as a sex object to satisify one’s desire? What are we to do?
Well, God has a perfect plan for each of those crosses, and it isn’t ignoring the problem. Even though sometimes doing nothing is the correct response to a cross. But loving our crosses and following Christ doesn’t always mean doing nothing, and just carrying our cross when something goes wrong.
Knowing how to carry a cross correctly is all involved in our INTENTIONS OF LOVE. God wants us to look for His will (what is the greatest good) and do that. God’s will is for us to do what is best for the salvation of another…not live self-seeking, doing what removes our suffering, but to love like Christ and live for the salvation of souls.
So if our spouse comes home from work and ignores his/her children as he/she watches TV and plays video games, that isn’t good for his/her soul. That is sinful. Sure that sin gives us and our children a cross…but God intends to use that suffering/cross as good, if we allow Him.
So to allow God to take our cross and make it good, we want to seek God’s will. We know God wills us to do everything to lead others to Life–to guide our spouse away from his/her sins by our prayers, words and actions. This is what Jesus tries to do everyday with our sins. Now, how to do this is where love, tact and great patience comes in.
“With all humility [knowing our sinfulness] and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another[‘s sins] through love” (Ephesians 4:2).
It isn’t easy knowing what to say or do to help someone see their errors, to go to God for grace and to want to change, but through trial and error…praying God helps us know when to speak, act or just do nothing except pray, is key as we learn as we go. God will eventually teach us and soften one’s heart if we persistently seek His will with all patience and love.
If something we do to enlighten/guide them makes our loved one angry and produces a non fruitful result, stop. Learn. If something we do provokes thought and a desire to change, continue. But in the meantime as we wait for God’s grace to take effect, we are to carry our cross HAPPILY, how ever long God wills, for our spouse or anyone’s conversion, knowing what great grace God will send them through us imitating Christ.
This is the same process we will go through for each cross we carry, no matter what it is. We need to look for what is God’s will, help lead others or ourselves away from sin and do what is the best for another’s salvation. If God intends the cross to leave great, if not great! God’s will is great!
If we aren’t strong enough to carry our cross, we are to look for help, but always seek Our Lord’s will.
“The way we came to understand love was that he laid down his life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
For example: Here is a hard one–sexual sin. It is running rapid inside and outside of marriage. I could write a whole book about this, but I speak about this in more depth in the article “What is God’s Plan for Family and Friends.”
Yet, God has a very specific plan for our sexual desires, but most have no idea what that is. But to touch on this a little, God desires to use our sexual attraction/desire to help sanctify us.
Our sexual act with our spouses is not only meant to procreate for God’s honor and glory, they are also supposed to help each other learn sexual self-discipline through denial and when necessary to satisfy our sexual desire, when denial is leading to lust of neighbor, so to help us gain sexual self-control and purity.
“Do not deprive each other [so to not fall into the greater sin of lust of neighbor], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time [to grow in holiness], to be free [from sin] for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Sex is never to be longed for with the intention of satsifying our sexual drive for self-gratification. God is to be our source of joy. But please understand there is anything wrong with uniting with our spouse to love them and satisfy our sexual desire are receive pleasure, as long as we are open to having children, just like there is nothing wrong with eating cake at a party to celebrate either…but there is nothing truly good with that either…as I address in the other article.
Yet, how many spouses treat each other only as an object to satisfy our sexual desires? We “say” we want our spouse to “love” them, but loving them is far from most of our minds during our sexual encounter, getting what we want–selfish love–having an orgasm is. This is reality. Lusting over our spouse for our sexual gratification isn’t love…it is lust…we can say we want to love our spouse all we want, but God who reads our hearts knows the true intention of what we do and lust is a sin…even with our spouse. It makes our spouse an object, a tool to use to satisfy our desires of the flesh.
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh [lust]…is not from the Father but is from the world.” (John 2:!6).
Oh, many of us love to lust or being lusted over but this needs to change if we seek Eternal Life.
There is so much confusion as to what is correct, pure behavior with our spouses and their bodies (temples of the Holy Spirit) and I speak about God’s plan for purity and salvation through marriage more full in the article “What is God’s Plan for Family and Friends.”
But if we want to love our spouse or anyone like Christ loves us, we need to seek to do the greatest good for their salvation with every cross (blessing) we are given.
Do we know what it is to lay down our life? Do we really know what that means? Most will say that means to die for someone…well it can mean that but that really isn’t what John is speaking about. Yes, Jesus did give literally His life for us, but He did it much more than dye for us…He gave His EVERYTHING–every thought, word and deed–to seek the salvation of our souls by perfectly obeying His Father. That is what “laying down one’s life” really is. Surrendering our wants and desires to serve God by giving our everything–our every thought, word and deed–to seek the salvation of souls just like Jesus did for us.
God gave us our lives to love Him. That is our entire purpose for our existence: to love and be loved by God for an eternity in Heaven. How did Jesus teach us how to love the Father, but by giving His entire life to serve God. However, since the world is so inviting, we have fallen out of love with God and in love with the world and ourselves. Our hearts don’t burn for God, desire to loose our will, serve Him and embrace the cross, but we are distracted with bounds of worldly desires and pleasures that come about pulling us away from God and the perfect love He has waiting for those who truly love Him–who are willing to love like He has loved.
Until we receive much of God’s grace and begin to be filled with His truth (knowledge of the Way to Eternal Life), we won’t even realize how little we actually love like Christ loved us. We won’t know what it is or how to do it ourselves nor be able to guide others to do it correctly either. We will think we know, but the devil actually cons us into guiding others right into self-love not true love of God.
Sadly, we will see someone giving and helping another but when they grow weary in their charity–because they aren’t receiving God’s peace from their works since they aren’t loving–doing good–for the right reasons. Sadly, we, from our misguided love, mistakenly guide them away from the truth and deeper into darkness. To console them, we will find ourselves saying, “oh, you have given so much of your life to others, now is the time to take care of yourself.” We have let the evil one darken us away from understanding the entire purpose of our life…which is to love like Christ has loved…not to live a comfy self serving life, but to love. But since we don’t know what love is, we think we are only supposed to give a certain amount of our life to loving and serving others and then the rest to ourselves. But Christ certainly didn’t do that.
We think, “If I don’t take care of myself, nobody will.” I promise you, if we “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you” (Matthew 6:33). Truly, any need we have God will provide the time and ability for us to attend to it when we give our life to serving others, and if God doesn’t provide it, it isn’t what we need. It is only what we think we need. We need to learn how to let go of our will–what we think we need–and trust in God by embracing God’s will–what He allows to happen. That is truly good and the way to Life.
Sadly, many of the times we or others perform some work of charity out of some sense of obligation or because we like how it feels to help others, not to serve God and love Him through loving our neighbor. Since our driving intentions for what we do isn’t true, we miss receiving the joy that never fades, that lasts and lasts, even when we are taken advantage of and suffer from our giving, etc. because we are giving for the wrong reasons.
We will even tell ourselves we are helping someone out of love of God, but if we look we will see how we prove we are living deceived. The proof we aren’t truly serving out of love for God is when our selfish attitude of complaining comes in. When we have to help someone when we don’t want to (inconvenient), or what we are doing goes greatly wrong (problems), or when our work becomes hard or not fun any more, then we complain and just want to stop. We don’t want to pick up the cross God gives us but want to complain it away and look for every excuse to stop. Perhaps, we will begin to feel tired of helping because we feel we have done more than our fair share and have worked far too long or more than others. Yes, we prove very easily how we aren’t truly loving God in our works, when the works we are doing begins to change our attitude from joy in helping another into bitter sour complaints as we seek to run from our cross (problems and challenges). That is the proof we weren’t truly helping for the right reasons. Proof is always clearly before us if we want to see.
When we are loving how Christ loves, our joy increases in the cross. Sure we try to avoid problems and do the best we can at everything, but when God allows the cross, we “rejoice in our suffering” ( ), calling upon God to teach us His blessed ways as we trust in Him knowing everything is perfect according to His will and wonderful good will come out of all. When someone doesn’t appreciate our efforts, or someone we are helping becomes a thorn in our side causing us many problems, those who are truly loving how Christ loves, let go of our will and become more happy when our works are riddled with problems. This is the truth. Sure we want our work done and want to be loved, but if that isn’t God’s will, we want God’s will more than ours and relent our will for the cross because we know that is the way to Christ’s Sacred Side. We don’t wish to reject the cross, complain about the problems and seek to find someone else to do the work so we can rest. We happily pick up our cross, and do the best we can, never complaining about the outcome, knowing the magnitude of grace the cross sends, focusing on living for God’s will and how we can love…not being concerned about our challenges but how we can truly love how Christ loved, with all joy in the cross. Those serving for true reasons of love, LOVE the CROSS.
Sadly, most seek to run from the cross and only do what we like. Many avoid conflict at all costs. If there is a problem, people will do all they can to avoid speaking with someone to avoid confrontation. Clearly, the real reason behind our works, for most of us…is to do something we like, have success, or for some personal benefit, even though we will tell ourselves it is for another. Sure some of what we do might be with the partial intention to benefit another–to love God–but if our driving force–the main reason–was truly to love God, we would most certainly embrace the cross since carrying the cross is the way we love God. The devil just tricks us into not knowing what love really is and taints our good works with much self-love. But love is carrying the cross.
We reject the cross much of the time by habit since we don’t know what love is and desire pleasure instead. Then after the weight of the cross dissipates, we feel happy to serve again and will do it. Or we will only carry a cross so big, and will reject it after we feel we have bore enough. Or we will only carry crosses of those who are grateful for our service–who can still satisfy our desire for praise in our works. Truly, that isn’t what Jesus did and isn’t what we are called to do either. Christ loved and joyfully carried His crosses for everyone one. We will do anything for our best friend, but how about the rude ungrateful neighbor? Most will only talk badly about them and never serve them like we do our loving family. Jesus even when He didn’t want to bear the burden as He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me” still sought not His will, but His Father’s will saying, “still, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). He showed us how to love and pray and accept what God allows as wonderfully good. Truly, Christ, who wanting to be loved and cared for, saw God the Father’s will and happily served and picked up His cross for the salvation of souls—all souls, even the most unkind ungrateful people. He gave us the perfect example; we need to emulate Jesus too. Sadly, from our lack of contemplating on Christ’s life and passion, most don’t know how to love like Christ loved, nor understand our need to “do as I have done” (John 13:15). So many times we are Christians by word alone, since the devil has deceived us to what true love–the real faith–really is.
Love One Another
Obey the Father’s Will
When we have a saving faith, “the soul desires to praise our Lord God and longs to sacrifice itself and die a thousand deaths for Him. It feels an unconquerable desire for great crosses and would like to perform the most severe penances; it sighs for solitude and would have all men know God, while it is bitterly grieved at seeing them offend Him ” (St. Theresa of Avila). This is the faith we must long for…the love we need for God. If we don’t have God in this life, we won’t have Him in the next.
more coming soon.