Summary: The passionate love of God is the blazing fire at the heart of all creation. God thinks about you every moment of every day. His love will never vary or change. That God would love even the vilest of sinners is the greatest mystery of eternity.
God has commanded that every human being love Him with EVERYTHING in them (Deut 6:5). The GREAT commandment supersedes all others. Sadly, in the lives of too many Christians, God’s love is unrequited love.
There are some Christians who are not comfortable with the way God truly feels about them, so they come up with excuses not to meet together with Him daily in genuine intimate communion through prayer and worship. This often leads to a very dysfunctional relationship with Jesus that is more like having a crush or infatuation than the love that they are commanded to have.
The field of Psychology has begun using the term ‘Limerence’ to describe a type of feeling someone might have towards another in place of ‘real’ love and affection. It is a very subtle and dangerous form of infatuation. There can be obsessive fascination and the desire to be the center of the other person’s life rather than just wanting to share the best moments of their life.
Limerence includes mood swings and feelings of intense joy and frustration. It is really a form of obsession that may seem like deep love, but in fact, it is the worst deception of love. It can turn a person’s life into a rollercoaster of misery and happiness. There is no middle ground.
For the limerent Christian, it is either the mountain top or the valley experience with God. Limerent love is most often felt by new Christians when they surrender everything to Him. At first, they can’t think of anything else but Jesus – and that is a good thing! He becomes the center of their world – for a while – until they start taking back those things they gave Him at the beginning of their walk with Him.
Yet, it is also seen in the Christian whose walk with God is completely based upon experience and their perception of how God is treating them. The person is elated, and on top of the world, and ‘blessed’ by God when they are getting their own way. However, when things stop going the way they want them to go, they get very upset, and depression takes over as the victims ‘mantra’ of ‘why me’ consumes them.
Limerence can cause various physical reactions to take place and cause the person to feel ecstatic when they believe that they are being touched or ‘blessed’ by God such as trembling, weakness, and stammering.
Conversely, the person can feel deeply rejected and worthless when they don’t ‘feel’ His presence or things aren’t going the way they planned.
In genuine love, a person sincerely loves another irrespective of whether there is any reciprocation. A person living in limerent love only feels happy when they think it is being returned. Unlike genuine love, limerence offers no real intimate affection because there is no feeling that it is needed.
As long as things are going good for the limerent Christian, they are ‘blessed.’ However, there can be an intense need for constant reassurance that they are loved by God. When things start to unravel around them, they start to question everything as the ‘blessings’ seemingly dissipate.
It is easy to worship and praise God when things are going great but when things start to unravel, or life gets in the way of their times of ‘blessings,’ there can be the feeling that God has removed His hand from them because of something they may have said or done.
What happens is the fear of rejection takes hold and becomes deeply rooted within, hindering their growth and their relationship with Jesus because they never really believe that they are good enough to be used, or even truly loved by Jesus on an intimate level. That causes the person to be afraid to approach God as they become fearful that He may reject them because they are not ‘good’ - or ‘holy’ - enough to enter into His presence.
The ultimate effect is that the limerent Christian becomes satisfied with just making it into Heaven and to merely remain satisfied with the fact that God loves everyone so He must love them too. When there is the smallest sign that God has done something to ‘bless’ them, their hope rises, and they continue to hold on for the next ‘bone’ of blessing to be thrown their way.
Jesus is love incarnate. Everything He does is because of - and through – love! It is the foundation on which the whole universe was created. The reason Christians should love God is because He first loved them.
Within the religions of the world, it is not uncommon to hear that the greatest thing to obtain is faith. Yet, the Great Commandment of God was not to have faith but rather, to love Him. Faith - in and of itself - is useless unless it is energized by God’s love. This love command is the foundation of Christianity. The reason God wants Christians to love Him with all their heart, soul, and mind, is because that is how He loves them!