Disordered Love

“The essence of sin is disordered love.” (Augustine)

Lately, I’ve been contemplating this quote from Augustine and I’ve tried to relate it on my own experiences, other people’s experiences, and my personal Bible meditation, study, and readings.

Basically, sin is love that is out of order as Augustine so aptly puts it. We could infer from that statement that there’s a right order of love and a wrong order of love. Say for example, if I prioritize video games over my studies then it’s in the wrong order of priority. If I prioritize my career over my family then it’s the wrong order of priority. All of us could agree that this is a wrong way of ordering our priorities. And Augustine said that it is the essence of sin: the disordering of things. At the heart of sin is the disordering of loves and ordering it in a manner that God has not placed in His proper order. God wants us to love Him supremely. If we would love supremely another object besides God then we’ve fallen into “disordered love”.

I just love how the book of Romans portrays this “disordered love”. Examples of these disordered loves are found in Romans 1:23 and 25. Romans 1:23 talks about exchanging the glory of the Incorruptible for the glory of the corruptible while Romans 1:25 talks about exchanging the truth of God for a lie. The essence of this is that we exchange God with another object because we deem that the object is more pleasurable than God. So, it could be our careers, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, future romantic partners, popularity, skills, intellects, money, entertainments, prestige, and so on. The moment we make that indulgence in “disordered love”, the object of our worship also changes. That’s why the Apostle Paul said that upon “exchanging God’s truth for a lie, we now worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.”

God created us for Himself to worship Him. But because of sin, we worship other objects besides God. So, all of us, even atheists, worship something. The question that would cause our answers to vary is, “Who or what are we worshiping?”

I think we could answer that question by analyzing the relationship between worship and service. Worship and service are inseparably related. The way we live our lives is inseparably related to the object of our worship. We could reasonably conclude that the object of our worship directs our lives.

On a side note, our lives are partly and indispensably directed by the choices that we make and our choices are directed by the strongest desire at the moment of choosing. Dr. Sproul, in his study of the Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards, said this, “Edwards indicates that the determining factor in every choice is the ‘strongest motive’ present at that moment. In summary, we always choose according to the strongest motive or desire at the time.” (1)

I included the side note because our strongest desires determine the choices that we make. Through that knowledge, we could reasonably conclude that the object of our worship fuels our strongest desires. We could now then ask ourselves the question, “What compels me do the things that I do?”

What compelled you to read this blog? What compels you to pursue further studies? Establish a business? Write a song? Make a dance video? Create a work of art? Labor in life?  Entertain the man of your dreams or pursue the girl of your dreams?

Is it done for recognition? Approval? Money? Fame?  Acceptance? Pleasure?

Is it done for your family? Yourself? That guy? Or that lady?

The answer to that question leads us to the object of our worship.

I just want to expound more on that by giving a personal example. This is just one of the many “disordered loves” that I have.

By the grace of God, I graduated with Latin honor. As I’ve reflected on that milestone, I asked myself the question, “What compelled me to do it?” It led me to a “disordered love” – the object of my worship. It led me to my “counterfeit god”, as Tim Keller aptly puts it. The object of my worship was myself. I worked hard for myself because I wanted to be recognized. I worked hard for myself because I wanted to be successful in the future. I worked hard for myself for people to admire me. I worked hard for myself for my family to be proud of me. I worked hard for myself to be a better version of me.

One might think that the aforementioned endeavor was noble but if we try to dig deeper to the effects of that “disordered love” to myself and other people, then we’d agree with Augustine that it’s the essence of sin.

It caused me to rely solely on myself. It made me think that I’m self-sufficient. It caused me to be prideful. It caused me to distrust the abilities of others because I think I’m better. It made me anxious of drastic failures that could happen to me in the future. It made me frustrated when I encountered another person who was smarter than me. It caused me to view other people as competitors instead of people whom I could serve. It caused me to not spend more time with my family than I ought to have because I was so focused on myself. It caused me to be bitter toward them and other people whenever I felt that they didnt’ acknowledge my achievement or belittle my achievement.

I love how David Foster Wallace said it, “If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. . . . Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”

If we dethrone God in His rightful place as the supreme Object of our love and devotion and place self, family, husband, wife, “the one”, career, intellect, and ability on that throne then we would just end up corrupting self, family, husband, wife, “the one”, career, and ability.

Indeed, our relationship with God directly affects every other relationship that we have.

I just want to close this blog post with Tim Keller’s quote.

“Disordered love leads always to misery and breakdown. The only way to ‘reorder’ our loves is to love God supremely.”

P.S. Ptr. Tim Keller’s examples are clearer and more coherent. I also got the quote of Augustine from his lecture. So, here’s the link if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mK65lpveSM


Author: nobody.who.has.Jesus

I don't know where to pour out my thoughts so I've decided to pour it out on my blog posts. I want to encourage and enlighten people through my blog posts so I really hope that I'd be a blessing to you as the reader. I just want also to take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate the people who have read my blog posts. :) Feel free to comment your questions, criticisms, and encouragements. I'd really appreciate it.

7 thoughts on “Disordered Love”

  1. Thanks for your honesty and your finger pointing others towards the Lord. I will pass on your post because we need more Christians today who are willing to accept their failures and make a gallant new effort to pursue Christ with something resembling faith in Him. May God be with you and your voice to share Him with the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on A nobody who has Jesus and commented:

    Hello! A friend gave some corrections and feedback. This is by far my favorite blog post that I wrote because some quotes are from Augustine and Timothy Keller – followers of Jesus whom I deeply admire. I would really appreciate it if you could share your thoughts with me. 🙂


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