Inspired by the book Equipped to Love: Building Idolatry-Free Relationships by Norm Wakefield (2007-02-01).

How do you love? Most people don’t realize that there are really only two ways to love, with either a worldly love or with the love of God. The easy way to distinguish between the two is that “worldy love” is always about self, whereas the “love of God” is always driven by a deep commitment for the other.

Worldly love is always self-focused, self-centered. People often give the reason why they love someone because of the way he or she makes them feel. This is a worldly love because it is about “SELF.” A man who says he “loves” his car, home, or job does so because he is usually thinking about all the benefits he derives from them. The world always values people and things based upon their usability. Worldly love causes people to control and manipulate others so they meet your needs. It envies what others have, is rooted in pride, and causes division and separation between people.

In stark contrast, God’s love is never about self. It is always about the other person, what is in their best interest, how you can best serve them, and what you can do for them. God’s love always focuses on giving and serving, never on getting. It is a selfless love motivated by a deep commitment to others, which means that it always seeks the best welfare of others. And in contrast to the divisiveness of worldly love, godly love builds connections and deep relationships with others because of its generous, open-handed, and magnanimous nature.

Consider these distinctions:

World Love versus God’s Love

  • Source: Self vs. God
  • Motivation: To get vs. to give
  • Purpose: To use vs. to be used
  • Value: determined by usability vs.  determined by the inherent worth of the other
  • Nature: Selfish vs. self-less
  • Characteristics:
    Controlling, manipulative vs. yielding and serving
    Hates suffering vs. long-suffering
    Divides and separates vs. unifies and builds
    Based on feelings vs. based on commitment
    Quickly angered vs. peaceful
    Easily frustrated vs. patient
    Unforgiving, resentful, and bitter vs. forgiving