What the heart most loves and wants the mind finds reasonable, the emotions find valuable, and the will finds doable”

Citing Augustine, Tim Keller makes two brief points” about the Christian view of loving God:

  1. Loving God means loving him with the whole heart. In the Bible the heart is the seat of the mind, will, and emotions, together. The Hebrew leb (“heart”) is the center of the entire personality. The heart’s love,” then, means much more than emotional affection. What the heart most loves is what it most trusts (Proverbs 3:5) and delights itself in (Proverbs 23:26). Matthew 6:21 says, Where your treasures is, there your heart will be also.” What you treasure is what absorbs your attention and commitment the most. Whatever captures the heart’s trust and love controls our thoughts, feelings, and behavior too. What the heart most loves and wants the mind finds reasonable, the emotions find valuable, and the will finds doable.

  2. Loving God means loving him for himself. In Augustine’s theology, to love God supremely is to love him for himself alone, and not just for what you can get from him. For there is a joy that is not given to those who do not love you, but only to those who love you for your own sake. You yourself are their joy. Happiness is to rejoice in you and for you and because of you” (Confessions, book X, chapter 22). Notice that it is possible to be very religious, to do prayers and religious observances, to be very ethical—but all so that God will give you good things. It is to use God rather than to love him, which Augustine says must never be done… Conditional service to God—serving him as long as he is answering prayers life—is a sign you are using him. When you stop obeying him when things go wrong in your life, that reveals that the good things and circumstances are the real nonnegotiables, your real loves. You were using God and loving things, rather than using things to love God. To love God for his own sake means to find him beautiful.1


  1. Tim Keller, Making Sense of God, p 288. (I added the paragraph break for readability.)


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January 20, 2018 · church · loving god · Keller · making sense of god · Augustine · using god · will · heart · emotions · mind

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