What is the Binary Core Value in the Story in the Bible?


We really were heating up as we were exploring the Christian Story through McKee’s eight stages of story. But, we went to white hot when we stepped into looking into the question of Binary Core Values in the story in the Bible.

Paula caught our attention on it first when she showed us how the core value is the first step of Stage Two…


Identifying the consumer’s unfulfilled need in Stage One leads to the first step of Stage Two: identifying the core value that best dramatizes the solution to this problem, the cure to this pain.

Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

There is so much to say about this, and it’s something McKee helped us see which is so relevant to America’s unfolding drama.

And the more we explored it, the more we came to realize it shines a spotlight on why Christians in America are marching themselves onto desperate ground and letting their country come apart.

It’s about the core value in the story…


Storifled thought interprets every event in terms of its core value. In story creation, however, the word value does not refer to mono-concepts such as success, truth, loyalty, love, or freedom. Those words name only half a value. Dynamic events affect our lives not as singularities but as binaries of positive/negative value charge. They pivot our lives around experiences of success/failure, truth/lie, loyalty/betrayal, love/hate, right/ wrong, rich/poor, life/death, winning/losing, courage/cowardice, power/weakness, freedom/slavery, excitement/boredom, and many more. Values pump the lifeblood of story. 

Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

It seems difficult to overstate the importance of this concept of Core Value. Look at this…


Core Value is the essential yardstick of your story.

Discover Your Story’s Core, By Anne Hawley, Story Grid

Core value.

Not something we talk about every day. But our team has come to see how we live it every day.

And Paula showed us that one of your famous pastors sees the importance of core values…


We have made many changes over the years, and I anticipate more. While the church will be in constant change, the elders have tried to keep us focused on some core values.

Francis Chan, Letters to the Church

When our team came into contact with the concept of core value, we realized we thought about “values” like most people do…


[I}n everyday conversation, when someone says an individual or institution has “values,” he means positive qualities such as truthfulness, love, generosity, hard work, loyalty, and the like. But for the story-maker, the values he invests in his telling come not as singularities but binaries of positive/negative charge: truth/lie, love/hate, generosity/selfishness, hard work/laziness, loyalty/betrayal, life/death, courage/cowardice, hope/despair, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, maturity/immaturity, justice/injustice, and on the list goes, naming all those qualities of human experience that can shift charge dynamically from positive to negative and back again.

A telling may incorporate any number, variety, and combination of values, but it anchors its content in one irreplaceable binary – the story’s core value. This value determines a story’s fundamental meaning and emotion. 

Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

A story’s fundamental meaning and emotion? In binary form?

Binaries.

So our team began to ask ourselves–what is the binary core value in the story in the Bible?

What are some good options?

Someone on our team suggested Grace/Wrath … and someone else wondered if it all basically boiled down to Justice/Injustice.

That’s when I jumped in with what I thought may be the only real option in this discussion, what I saw in so many sermons we’d listened to, and so many proclamations by your Christian stars.

“Clearly,” I said confidently, “the core binary value in the Christian story is Good/Evil. Just think of the inciting incident in the garden all the way to the cross. It’s God’s good triumphing over Satan’s evil.”

“But Chow, what if it’s not?” Paula asked with her gorgeous knowing smile.

I said, “Do we need to revisit that video we watched from the Bible Project?” I asked.

“Yes, lets,” she said. And the whole team, loving our banter as much as we did, sat down to watch this…


After it was over, I felt a lot more confident about my opinion that Good/Evil was the core value in the Christian story. So, I turned to her and asked, very curious about what insight she might have up her sleeve, “Well Paula Wong, how do you explain the inciting incident in the garden, then?”

“Well,” she replied, unshaken, “you’re exactly spot on to go to the inciting incident and jump to the inevitable, yet surprising climax in the Christian story just like they did in that video. But is the Christian story really about Good vs. Evil? Is it focused on the fight between God and Satan?”

“No, of course not,” I shot back with a smile. “We’ve already determined we have multiple protagonists in the Christian story, and that it’s a story about God AND Man.”

“Right,” she said with a revved look on her face. “A story about God and Man.” Then she grew silent.

And I have never loved her more than I did at that moment. I knew she was about to blow us all away.

“What then?” I challenged, my confidence in my Good/Evil binary core value assertion beginning to waver.

Her smile only broadened as she asked, “So, what exactly was the disruption of the balance about in the garden? Was that all about Satan and his role in the story?”

“No,” I stammered, losing confidence by the second. “The disruption…was about Man’s relationship with God…”

“Right. Listen to what you just said. Relationship.”

The eye of every team member was on me. We all had the sense that we were about to get our next epiphany.

What if,” she asked slowly, “the core value of the Christian story is about relationship? What if the binary core value of the Christian story is Loyal love/Betrayal?”

I was blown away, along with the rest of my team. “Of course,” I whispered.

Then I turned to my team, who were all laughing by now. “Of course it’s relational,” I cried. And turning to Paula I asked the next thing in my head, “just like the Trinity?”

“Just like the Trinity,” she smiled.

Everyone nodded with agreement, as I spewed a further thought, “Made in His image?”

“Made in His image. Made for relationship with him,” she nodded.

We sensed right away that she was right. It rang true.

I’ll include a portion of our discoveries here. Let’s start the positive side of your binary core value– loyal love. Check out how very intense it is…


Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

While we were elated with our discovery, thanks to Paula, we were also filled with a troubled feeling. You can understand this,of course. Because, even though people who embrace our version of the story we are in, desire that intensity like everyone else…


A character that displays devout loyalty to his or her own family, friends, mentors, or peers has a character trait that audience members respect and cherishloyalty.

7 Ways Screenwriters Can Create Better Character Empathy, By Ken Miyamoto, ScreenCraft, August 11, 2018

… it doesn’t make sense for them to be so passionate, given the ultimate meaninglessness of our version of the story.

But yet, this is our experience…


We celebrate loyalty even though we may sometimes despair of experiencing it. Perhaps its rarity just makes us value it all the more. By contrast, all too common is betrayal. There are little betrayals (the friend who repeats a minor secret told in confidence) and big betrayals (treason) and all manner of betrayals in between (from the husband who clears out the joint bank accounts before running off with his mistress, to the business deal done by buddies on a handshake, later undone for want of an enforceable contract). Betrayal is so common, in part, because of how easy it is for betrayal to undo loyalty. It would have taken but one person to sell out Bonnie Prince Charlie for him to have been captured. Perhaps loyalty appears scarce not because there is none to be found but because all it takes is one traitor to render the loyalty of forty-nine reliable men useless. 

Eric Felton, Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue

And, there is something else we’d like to tell you about this question of binary core value. Something which is very relevant to your dividing house.

As we’ll explore in this report, it looks like an embrace of a good/evil binary core value naturally leads to division…


Haidt and Lukianoff note how humans are constructed genetically for this kind of tribal warfare, to divide the world instinctively into in-groups and out-groups almost from infancy. For homo sapiens, it is natural to see the world, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks put it, as radically “divided into the unimpeachably good and the irredeemably bad.” It is much harder to see, as Solzhenitsyn did, even after he had been sent to the gulag by his ideological enemies, that good and evil run through every human heart.

America, Land of Brutal Binaries, By Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Intelligencer, September 21, 2018

More on that later, though. But, you may want to meditate on this…


According to Paul, Jesus Christ as Lord and as Giver of God’s Spirit came from God to identify with us humans in our weakness and despair, in order to offer us life with God (1 Thess. 5:9—10), while he represented God in righteous and merciful agape (Rom. 5:6—8). As God’s befriending mediator for humans, Jesus aims to represent, and to offer a personal bridge between, God and humans. Specifically, he seeks to reconcile humans to God with the gift of companionship anchored in merciful agape as the power of God’s Spirit. This Good News, according to Paul, is inherently theological and Christological and hence cannot be reduced to a story of morality or ethics.

Paul Moser, The Severity of God

If you want to keep your country from descending into divorce or another civil war, you ought to take that Moser man seriously.

And now we’ll show you something else we came to see…



The Core Character & the Binary Core Value

The binary core value in the story in the Bible flows from the core character’s very nature – and, if Christianity is the story we are in, your God is the ultimate cure to the pain we’re in.

But that very realization made us agree with McKee, because beginning with the core value immediately leads you to the story in the Bible which connects to the audience in a very dynamic way…


The form of story, at its simplest, goes like this: As the telling opens, the central character’s life, as expressed in its core value (happiness/sadness, for example), is in relative balance. But then something happens that upsets this balance and decisively changes the core value’s charge one way or the other. He could, for example, fall in love (positive) or out of love (negative). The character then acts to restore life’s balance, and from that moment on a sequence of events, linked by cause and effect, moves through time, progressively and dynamically swinging the core value back and forth from positive to negative, negative to positive. At climax, the story’s final event changes the core value’s charge absolutely and the character’s life returns to balance.

Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

As we noted previously, the story in the Bible is a story of God and humanity.

But your God is the core character.

Yet, each and every human being is also in the story in relation to him. And each of us has our own unique stories.

And that interwoven reality so fits with the core value – which is relational.

So, we are wondering if this may be relevant…


Therefore, regardless of the story you choose to tell, all brand stories must follow one simple principle: The core value of the story must match the core value of the brand. If these stories do not align, if promises made are not kept, the public feels betrayed and their sense of injustice indicts the brand as detrimental to their lives. 

Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

Because we discovered how the core character in the story in the Bible is connected to loyal love in an astonishing way…


Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:7-11

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:14-19

You can’t separate the protagonist in the Christian story from his love.

Consider the following from a famous American scholar we came across named J.I. Packer…


‘God is love’ is the complete truth about God so far as the Christian is concerned. To say ‘God is light’ is to imply that God’s holiness finds expression in everything that He says and does. Similarly, the statement ‘God is love’ means that His love finds expression in everything that He says and does.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God

And Paula showed us this…


Salient evidence of God in a Gethsemane context includes, as we cooperate, evidence of God’s deep, volitional deliverance of us from our tendencies to disobey God in our selfishness, pride, des­pair, and superficiality. Such evidence emerges in Paul’s epistemologically important remark: “Hope [in God] does not disappoint us, because God’s agape has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). This is arguably the most important epistemological statement in the New Testament and in Christian literature generally, but its importance is widely neglected among philosophers and theologians. Paul would endorse a similar view about the evidential foundation of faith, or trust, in God. As a result, hope and faith in God are not groundless in Paul’s perspective; they have a salient evidential foundation in agape from God that floods a human person inwardly. Accordingly, the agape in question is genuine evidence of God, and from God. This cru­cial lesson is widely ignored among philosophers, theologians, and others; so, correction is overdue.

Paul Moser, The Severity of God

And this also helped us to understand it…


To say, “God is love” is not the same as saying, “Love is God.” Those are very different statements. God and love are not identical, though this seems to be what some people think. They think that saying, “God is love” is all there is to say about God, that love and God are one and the same, and there is nothing further to talk about. 

It is correct to say God is love, if you are very careful with your meaning. Love is a true attribute of God, but he is more than just love. Other qualities are essential to God, too. One of them is justice. Wrongs must be punished; debts must be paid. 

Greg Koukl, The Story of Reality

And his love is a very intense and loyal love. Here are just two of the many passages from your Bible which make it very clear…


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.

For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.

Isaiah 54:5-8

And look at this…


One of the most important words in the Bible, and certainly in the Book of Psalms, is the word khesed, most often translated as “lovingkindness.”  Not only is the word descriptive of a divine attribute, but it is also the key word for covenant relationships, whether between God and people, or between people themselves.

……

God’s “loyal love” brings redemption and guidance to his people.  Exodus 15:13 records the words of Moses extolling the LORD for leading and redeeming his people at the Exodus by his steadfast love.   Accordingly, in times of war or famine (Ps. 33), the people of God pray for the outworking of God’s loyal love (v. 22).

God’s “loyal love” preserves the life of his people, even in discipline.  So the psalmist can pray at such times for the LORD to save his life because of his steadfast love (Ps. 6:4).

God’s “loyal love” brings forgiveness of sins.  David’s appeal for forgiveness is based on this: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love” (Ps. 51:1).

God’s “loyal love” brings restoration to the physical and spiritual life of his people.  Psalm 109:21-26 demonstrates this, laying out the need before praying for God to deliver by his steadfast love.

Allen P. Ross, Khesed, God’s “Loyal Love, Lovingkindness”, Christian Leadership Center

The Hebrew word חֶסֶד variously translated “kindness” (JB), “lovingkindness” (KJV, NASB), “love” (NIV), or “steadfast love” (NRSV), has the basic meaning of “unfailing love” or “loyalty.”

……

Yahweh’s “loyal-love” is an undeserved, selective affection by which He binds Himself to His people for their sake. He graciously and sovereignly grants gifts and blessings beyond anything they might hope for. And He grants these blessings contrary to what people deserve. His abounding חֶסֶד will never diminish or be exhausted since it is founded on His character and covenant commitment. And so the psalmist wrote, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His חֶסֶדis everlasting” (Ps. 136:1).

Carl Laney, God’s Self-Revelation in Exodus 34:6-8, Bibliotheca Sacra, January 2001

There is a feminine noun khasidah, “stork,” so named because of its kind and affectionate care for its young (see Ps. 104:17).  We have an interesting illustration for our word in the usage of this word. In Job 39:13-15 the LORD compares the ostrich to the stork (or to “love” as some versions translate the word).  The ostrich is the opposite of the stork, or love (khasidah), for it abandons its young to the sand for the foot to crush or the predator to devour.  It does not have “loyal love” for its own. So by contrast the “stork” and “loyal love” are essentially synonymous.

Allen P. Ross, Khesed, God’s “Loyal Love, Lovingkindness.” Christian Leadership Center

And look at this, from your guy Peter Kreeft…


Love is also the fundamental value. It is the answer to Kant’s second question, “What should I do?” On the two commandments to love God and neighbor “depend all the law and the prophets” (Mt 22:40).

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You

This gets very emotional. And, it also looks like there is a connection between love and mystery…


So, in the Christian context, we do not mean by a “mystery” merely that which is baffling and mysterious, an enigma or insoluble problem. A mystery is, on the contrary, something that is revealed for our understanding, but which we never understand exhaustively because it leads into the depth or the darkness of God. The eyes are closed-but they are also opened.

Thus, in speaking about God as mystery, we are brought to our second “pole.” God is hidden from us, but he is also revealed to us: revealed as person and as love.

Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

And the connection between love and mystery then helped open our eyes to something huge about your God, which I could see right away when Paula revealed your binary core value–Loyal Love/Betrayal.

It’s about the ‘Trinity.’

And as one of your scholars points out… 


In the doctrine of the Trinity, we encounter one of the truly distinctive doctrines of Christianity. Among the religions of the world, the Christian faith is unique in making the claim that God is one and yet there are three who are God.

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology

That so surprised us.

But it also raised another question…


Can the Trinity be a Protagonist?


Well, it puzzled us at first, but then Paula Wong discovered this…


THE PROTAGONIST

Generally, the protagonist is a single character. A story, however, could be driven by a duo, such as THELMA & LOUISE; a trio, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK; more, THE SEVEN SAMURAI or THE DIRTY DOZEN. In THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN an entire class of people, the proletariat, create a massive Plural-Protagonist.

For two or more characters to form a Plural-Protagonist, two conditions must be met: First, all individuals in the group share the same desire. Second, in the struggle to achieve this desire, they mutually suffer and benefit. If one has a success, all benefit. If one has a setback, all suffer. Within a Plural-Protagonist, motivation, action, and consequence are communal.

Robert McKee, Story

So, you can see how this got our attention…


Our God is not an egotistical, self-absorbed deity alone looking at and worshiping himself in a mirror from eternity past. Instead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in loving communal life with one another, speaking to one another, working together, giving and receiving, and delighting in each other for all eternity.

The Trinity and the Doctrine of Love, Alexander Strauch,  Emmaus Journal (Winter 2003)

And look what else Strauch wrote…


When we read that “God is love,” we are compelled to think of the triune nature of God. William Clarke writes in his book, The Christian Doctrine of God, “Love is a matter of relations and does not exist outside of them, for it implies two, lover and the beloved.” The God of the Bible is one God, yet tri-personal—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is one God in three persons; there is one-in-three, and there is three-in-one. Thus there has always (eternally) existed an amazing, dynamic inter-relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit characterized by love. Each member in the holy fellowship of the Godhead loves and is beloved.

The Trinity and the Doctrine of Love, Alexander Strauch,  Emmaus Journal (Winter 2003)

And then Paula Wong showed us this, which helped us begin to see more how story and your belief in the Trinity fit together…


Any reading of Scripture across the canon leads to one undeniable conclusion: this is a God-centered universe. From the opening verses of Scripture, God alone is presented as the primary actor, the sovereign Creator, the Sustainer, Life-giver, and Redeemer. He is the central figure of the story who alone is independent, self-sufficient, transcendent yet personal, magnificent in all of his perfections, utterly glorious, and worthy of all of our love, devotion, and praise.

….

However, what is crucial to note is that at the heart of Scripture’s presentation of our great and glorious God is the doctrine of the Trinity. …. [U]nderstanding God as triune is central to everything Scripture says about him, and it is what distinguishes him from all other conceptions of “god.” In fact, the entire storyline of Scripture in terms of the plan of salvation would not even make sense without God being triune.

God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity, Stephen J. Wellum, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (Spring 2006)

And notice how your doctrine of the Trinity fits with the power of the plot…


By progressive revelation, I mean the gradual unfolding of God’s truth throughout history as recorded in Scripture. In other words, progressive revelation emphasizes more development or enlargement of early truth than was given in the Old Testament. In the process of time, God gave more information about things that He began to reveal in the Old Testament. For example, let’s talk about the Trinity. While I believe the Trinity can be defended from the Old Testament, I certainly can’t do it as easily as I can from the New Testament. That truth was revealed gradually over a long period of time. You need the whole of the revelation to understand it, but the emphasis is on the development not change.

Progressive Dispensationalism, By Robert Lightner, Conservative Theological Journal, April 2000

And look at how your Trinity connects with the needs and wants of the audience in a very deep way…


Psychologists tell us that our deepest need is to be loved and to feel love. Theologians tell us that the Trinity is Christianity and that the best quest of the human being is to know God. To know God deeply and fully is to know him as Trinitarian. But to know him as the Trinity is to know him through his expression of love to us, through his willingness to send his Son to become man with us, to die in our place and to redeem us, and to bring us into fellowship with himself. It is also revealed through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit, allowing us to have personal, intimate, and regular communication with God.

The Trinity and the Christian, by Kenneth Daughters, Emmaus Journal (Summer 2005)

So, do you realize what we’re dealing with here?

If Christianity is the story we are in, then the core character in the story is an eternal, tri-personal being.

And that means, in the Christian story, relationship has always existed


The Trinity means that relationship is the fundamental category of reality. Relationship goes all the way up into ultimate reality, into God. God is a society, an I-Thou relationship; God is love. Because we are made in the image of the Trinity, love and family and community and friendship are not peripheral but central, not accidental but essential to us, at the very core of human existence.

Peter Kreeft, Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics

And look how this would tie so much together in the story…


The doctrine of the Trinity makes the most concrete and practical difference to our lives that can possibly be imagined. Because God is a Trinity, God is love. Because love is the supreme value, it is the meaning of our lives, for we are created in God’s image. The fact that God is a Trinity is the reason why love is the meaning of life and the reason why nothing makes us as happy as love: because that is inscribed in our design. We are happy only when we stop trying to be what we were not designed to be.

Peter Kreeft, Catholic Christianity

And this too…


Because of love he created the world, because of love he was born into this world as a man, because of love he took up our broken humanity into himself and made it his own. Because of love he identified himself with all our distress. Because of love he offered himself as a sacrifice, choosing at Gethsemane to go voluntarily to his Passion: “I lay down my life for my sheep…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:15,18). It was willing love, not exterior compulsion, that brought Jesus to his death. At his Agony in the garden and at his Crucifixion the forces of darkness assail him with all their violence, but they cannot change his compassion into hatred; they cannot prevent his love from continuing to be itself. His love is tested to the furthest point, but it is not overwhelmed. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not swallowed it up” (John 1:5). To Christ’s victory upon the Cross we may apply the words spoken by a Russian priest on his release from prison camp: “Suffering has destroyed all things. One thing alone has stood firm-it is love.”

Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

So, if Christianity is the story we are in, we began to seriously think about how the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal runs through the story in the Bible.

And one fascinating thing which caught our attention is that many Christians point to God as the true source of happiness…


God is a fountain of happiness, a pulsating activity, a drama, a dance, a fountain of energy and beauty at the heart of reality. No wonder Wesley, Lewis, and countless other Christian thinkers and writers have made the point that our only true satisfaction will be found in God. It is because we are made in his image that nothing else will do the trick. He is perfect love, and joy, and truth, and beauty, and goodness. That is what we were made for, and that is what will bring us the true happiness and satisfaction we naturally and persistently crave. As Lewis remarked, there is nothing arbitrary about the fact that there is no other possible way to the fountain of happiness, the eternal dance of love and joy.

How Could God Create Hell?, by Jerry Walls, in God Is Great, God Is Good, By William Lane Craig, Chad Meister

We believe Pascal is right. And, with Pascal, we believe God purposefully designed us to pursue happiness.

Does seeking your own happiness sound self-centered? Aren’t Christians supposed to seek God, not their own pleasure? To answer this question we need to understand a crucial truth about pleasure-seeking (hedonism): we value most what we delight in most. Pleasure is not God’s competitor, idols are. Pleasure is simply a gauge that measures how valuable someone or something is to us. Pleasure is the measure of our treasure.

We know this intuitively. If a friend says to you, “I really enjoy being with you,” you wouldn’t accuse him of being self-centered. Why? Because your friend’s delight in you is the evidence that you have great value in his heart. In fact, you’d be dishonored if he didn’t experience any pleasure in your friendship. The same is true of God. If God is the source of our greatest delight then God is our most precious treasure; which makes us radically God-centered and not self-centered. And if we treasure God most, we glorify Him most.

Does the Bible teach this? Yes. Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn people for longing to be happy. People are condemned for forsaking God and seeking their happiness elsewhere (Jeremiah 2:13). This is the essence of sin. The Bible actually commands us to delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Jesus teaches us to love God more than money because our heart is where our treasure is (Matt. 6:21). Paul wants us to believe that gaining Christ is worth the loss of everything else (Phil 3:8) and the author of Hebrews exhorts us to endure suffering, like Jesus, for the joy set before us (Heb. 12: 1-2). Examine the Scriptures and you’ll see this over and over again.

The Life-Changing Discovery of Christian Hedonism, by Sam Storms,  Desiring God, November 17, 2011

If Christianity is the story we are in, then he does love you.