The Love We Crave Series: God

To know yourself and be secure that you are loved is essential. The better your boundaries of self-awareness and self-definition are, the greater your capacity to offer empathy and love to others. You will have a stable foundation to operate from; not distracted by personal insecurities or blind spots.
— Bill Gaultiere (Pastor and Psychologist)

This is the last of The Love We Crave Series, based on "The Four Loves" by C.S. Lewis.

For the past 4 weeks I have been shoving the word intimacy down our throats, often obnoxiously and unapologetically. 

If you would like to read the other articles in this series, look at the right hand side column on your browser. For most of us Smart Phone train users:

The Love We Crave Series:

If you've only just joined us - welcome! Let me reiterate that you were created for a community of intimate relationships. May your love tank held up by the pillars of storge (familial), phileo (friendship), eros (lovers) and this week - agape (God).

I know we don't all believe in God. However those of you reading this will understand that I write from a Christian Church Gal perspective, and so if you decide to continue reading, I would be most honoured for your time and curiosity.

Let's begin.

AGAPE LOVE: Your GOD

Agape love as modelled by Christ is not based on a feeling, rather, it is a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.
— GotQuestions.org

I want to marry two paradoxes together:

  1. Agape love is the selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love; the highest of the four types of love in The Bible. This love is from God, and is God's nature. It is like the endless burning of a furnace, or an untameable ocean, not requiring reciprocity from outside sources for it to keep loving or fuelling.
  2. Jesus was fully human, yet fully God, modelling the "perfect" human with limitations and boundaries.

QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED & ANSWERED

  • So if God's love is purely gift-love, why did Jesus need to set boundaries?
  • What is the line between having good boundaries and being generous with your time, money, skills and resources?
  • Why should we prioritise God's love, and use Him as our model for how to love perfectly in giving and receiving intimacy?

BOUNDARIES BABY, BOUNDARIES.

Pouring reassurance into my re-used Mount Franklin bottle, Pastor and Psychologist Bill Gaultiere asserts that Jesus certainly did set boundaries for Himself. He studied the life of Jesus in the four gospels, proactively looking out for the times when Jesus said no to his disciples, to his family, even to people who desperately needed healing. Read the article here (it’s mind-blowing). 

Before diving into Jesus’ relaxed, cheerfully-giving and serving needy-people-life, I’ve slapped a white sticker label on the concept of boundaries. I call it, “The Square Fence Theory”.

Personal boundaries are what define your identity. Liken them to property lines around a home. This is my property, and all that other stuff is not my property:

Exhibit A. Everything inside the black shaded square represents what was in Jesus's Square Fence.

Exhibit A. Everything inside the black shaded square represents what was in Jesus's Square Fence.

Exhibit B. Summarised activities of Jesus, where everything outside the black shaded square represents what was not in Jesus's Square Fence.

Exhibit B. Summarised activities of Jesus, where everything outside the black shaded square represents what was not in Jesus's Square Fence.

SELF-AWARENESS

Jesus had self-awareness about his calling: To sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world. His lifework of people-healing, devil-outcasting, crowd-preaching, and dead-resurrecting led up to this point. Christians call this His "ministry".

This singular focus on world-atonement was Jesus's agape factor. Regardless of His emotional state He was determined to go to the cross. Not only was it the cruellest form of execution by the Roman government, this physical torture and execution represented supernatural warfare.

Picture a chess board of white angels on one side and black demons on the other. When Jesus the perfect human sacrificed Himself = Heaven's white angels charged forth in offensive attack. All past, present, future sins of the world were forgiven by God the Father as He required the pure blood of Jesus's perfect humanity. (I know, sounds gross but stay with me). Death is now defeated = Hell's black demons screeching, clutching their bloodied knee-caps as their only plan to keep humanity under control was through grave head-locks.

The church hymnals might make more sense now.

SELF-DEFINITION

Jesus knew who He was: The Son of God, the atoning sacrifice. Identity precedes action.

He couldn't confidently perform miracles if He didn't know that He was the Son of a super powerful Alpha/Omega God. Contrarily, He couldn't patiently keep His mouth shut while Herod mocked Him if He didn't know that getting nailed to a cross with acceptance and trust is what sons of God do.

I believe Jesus had the choice to not accomplish the mission. He even chatted to God about it intensely in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked the Father to "take this cup from Me". However He chose the mission over His own fear to be sacrificed. 

He resolved to put the world before Himself.

His attitude, actions, decisions flowed on canoes to the river of the moment He would go to the cross. He knew He couldn't heal everyone, go everywhere, and be everything to everyone. He accepted His human limitations, but pursued His God-assigned mission.

AND NOW BACK TO THE QUESTIONS...

If God's love is purely gift-love, why did Jesus need to set boundaries?

  • Because incarnated, Jesus had human limitations, just like you and I do!

What is the line between having good boundaries and being generous with your time, money, skills and resources?

  • Knowing what's inside your square fence (ie. your calling) and sticking to it (ie. saying no to what is outside of it) as that is all we can accomplish as humans.

Why should we prioritise God's love, and use Him as our model for how to love perfectly in giving and receiving intimacy?

  • Decide this for yourself. Personally, the marketing campaigns of other religions, world views and psychological theories have not been as soul-penetrating nor heart-convincing for me. So I'm sticking with Jesus.

Bill Gaultiere: Jesus Set Boundaries

The Four Loves - A Humble Summary

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