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Cupboard Love


God’s Thoughts to Me

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety (Proverbs 29:25, NLT).

Deceitful Love

Wreaking my mind for ideas about the cupboard, took me straight to Pappa’s throne of grace, hat in hand, admitting that all my striving resulted in zilch, nada, nothing!

The Fibrofrogs were having a great time stealing all my noble, important ideas and I could feel my flesh rising in sheer frustration. I was blessed with two words, “cupboard love”!

I was totally ignorant of this saying and thought it to be a quaint English phrase. But I was soon about to find out what it truly meant.


According to Wikipedia, “cupboard love” is a phrase referring to love and affection shown to gain a reward. In other words; love inspired by some selfish motive.

It is derived from the way a cat will give a cupboard containing its food superficial love and can be described as a milder form of conditional love. Children are quite masters of this art!


Actually, this is the kind of love that almost all humans are experts in giving … sort of a common chronic illness amongst the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

And … I knew I was guilty as charged. I used to be very skilled cupboard lover!

For a long time I listened to teachings that tickled my ears and taught me I could “love” my Lord and King with the same kind of cupboardy, selfish love (2 Timothy 4:3).


Tithing would, for instance, oblige Pappa to open the storehouse of heaven, showering me with all my heart’s desires.

Praying our Lord’s words from Scripture would compel Him to send His angels from heaven to be at my beck and call. For our Lord’s words would never return empty or void (Isaiah 55:1).

Speaking positive words would ensure that Pappa would never allow any harm to come to me or my loved ones, for there was power in my words (Deuteronomy 30:1).


Oh, I was well trained in showering our Pappa with cupboard love and throwing tantrums when I didn’t get my way!

The prodigal son and I were much alike in that he only thought of his Pappa when he was wallowing in the mud with the pigs. His main concern was more his empty stomach than his father.


But, looking at the Scriptures that were used to birth these monstrous teachings made me even more aware of the deceitfulness of the human heart.

The famous book of Malachi, was our Lord’s reproach to the careless, corrupt priests who were divorcing their wives, oppressing the orphans and widows and not paying decent wages to the laborers. They were also guilty of tax evasion for the upkeep of the theocracy.

The first century Christians were mostly illiterate and there were not any Bibles around, in any case! I am sure the priests were also not lending the Torah to them to pray the words, trying to get God to transform His angels into a few Santa Clauses!


They knew of only one Gospel. To them Christianity was the living, resurrected Lord Jesus living in them and they in Him in a wonderful, intimate relationship of love.

I came to realize that my own feeble words, didn’t carry one bit of power to create anything. Only the words of our Lord Jesus have that honor!

True to Himself our gentle Lord did not condemn me. Instead, He saved me from myself.It was not an easy escape from all the lies I believed!

It was more like the 1963 American film, The Great Escape, where the Allied Prisoners of War escaped from a German POW camp through a tunnel they dug underground.


Together, my Lord and I dug a tunnel beneath enemy territory, fully aware of their sharp shooters who were masters of deception and waiting for the slightest chance to hinder my escape with their bullets of lies.

But my Commander-in-Chief, our Lord Jesus, brought me through to truth and freedom … the freedom for which He has set us free (Galatians 5:1).

Yes, the Truth has set me free indeed; free to live in Him … in His love … in His Loving Embrace!

Much love xx


Linking-up with





I live in a small seaside town on the south-east coast of South Africa. I suffer from fybromyalgia/constant fatigue syndrome. I trust in the Lord Jesus for grace and strength to survive from day to day. He provides me with this and more and I therefore like to try and encourage others with the same illness. I am married and I am the proud mother of two grown sons.

24 thoughts on “Cupboard Love

  1. I’ve never heard the term cupboard love either, Mia. Such an interesting term. And applying it to my faith…very convicting. So grateful for his grace and the freedom it gives!

    1. Dear Laura
      We are but just so human, and just like our children, we will also try His hand. I am so grateful for all the times He said no to my requests. In the long run, it would have done me so much harm! Thanks for visiting, dear One!
      Much love

  2. Such an interesting term, Mia. I, too, had never heard that before. So good to consider again the subtle and not-so-subtle ways I try to gain God’s approval. May his truth set us free, indeed!

    1. Dear Ashley
      I could begin to understand Pappa’s love only when I realized that my love for my children is just a glimps from the love of His Father heart. My children don’t need to do anything for me to love them; I just love them, period. And I will never agree to a request from them if I know it will not be for their ultimate good. How much more is our Pappa’s concern and care for us!
      Much love, my friend

  3. Never heard that phrase before and such an interesting definition. wow. And your photos kept me reading. loved them. Jus think of the unconditional love God lavished upon us. I have read we aren’t to worry about how we are to love but to focus on God’s love and the rest will come. Mia you are written a post that will linger in my heart….

    1. Dear Jean
      Oh, I cannot agree more! When we love Him, we are the lights that shines with His love to bring His beauty to a starving world! Thanks for your encouraging words!
      Much love

  4. Dear Mia, Cupboard love is a new term– for me… literally. It describes how I sometimes approach my Abba. If I do things just right, them He’ll do ___ for me. It’s an ingrained way of thinking that I’ve struggled with for years. I’m so thankful for His grace and His willingness to help us renew our minds.
    Thanks so much for coming by Mary @ Woman to Woman. I always appreciate your wonderful comments!
    Blessings and love ~ Mary

    1. Dear Mary
      I love visiting your blog for I relate to what and how you write!
      Oh yes, dear one, I am grateful to Him for renewing my mind!
      Much love

    1. Hi Jen
      I would love to know where your husband are from! We South Africans also have all these humorous sayings! Thanks for your space every week where we can link-up.
      Much love

    1. Dear Michelle
      The joy of knowing Him far excels the temporary joy of getting all our prayers answered with a YES! We can become spoilt in no time.
      Much love

    1. Hi Jo
      We truly are but so very human! And He knows that. I am glad for all the times when He knew much better and answered my prayers with a NO.
      Much love

  5. Well, I learned some things. I’d never heard of cupboard love before! I like the way this post compels us, in a round-about way, toward praying “Thy will be done.” I’ve done my fair share of letting God know what would be best, or what He should do. Learning to lean. God bless.

    1. Dear Brandee
      Yes, my friend, we all do that at times, buy we do grow up spiritually as well at some stage! Thanks for visiting.
      Much love

  6. Mia, your writing is so thoughtful, touching, and beautiful!! I am so thankful that Jesus sets us free and saves us from ourselves!! Thank you so much for sharing this and for all of your kind, encouraging comments you leave over at Chaos & Coffee! They mean so much, my friend!! I hope you have a blessed and wonderful week! 🙂

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