But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:34-40
Can you see where Jesus expects that loving oneself will be a natural result of walking in relationship with Him? Look at how He says, “…love your neighbor as yourself”? He says the “as yourself” without explanation or illustration. He just says it. To me his words have a, “well, of course a person who walks with the Creator would love themselves,” feel to them.
So where is the disconnect?
How have we gotten so far from Jesus’s natural result of loving oneself? Maybe we are not far from it. Let me ask you – are you in Christ? Are you a follower of Jesus? To what degree do you love being you? That’s such a high, can’t-fake-that, bar. Love is rich and powerful. The standard is love. The standard is not tolerating yourself or liking yourself.
Look in the mirror and be comfortable with who you see. Look in the mirror and have affection for who you see in the same way you look upon your spouse or your kid or some other special person in your life.
How are you doing?
And how are brothers and sisters in the Lord doing that you know well? Do they love themselves? My fear is that we have made the faith about so many other things that we would not even ask these kinds of questions of the people we have been sitting next to for years. And, silently, they sit, even we sit, doing all the right church things, yet miserable or stuck or hurting because we do not love ourselves. And no one seems to care enough, or know enough, to ask.
Making our faith about so many other things than love is very, ridiculously easy. We can make faith about:
- The accumulation of knowledge
- Attending worship and other events
- Going on mission trips
Every one of these can be a trap. Which one(s) can be “trappiest” for you? Every one of them can be justified as ministry AND look really good AND accomplish Kingdom work. Going on mission trips can be a great thing. Serving in church ministry can help people. Being moral is biblical.
Yet, none of these are the root. None of them are our Father’s true desire for His children.
Let me ask you this…what mom or dad wants his kids to not love themselves? Nuts. Only terrible, rotten, or severely hurting parents would not want their sons and daughters to love themselves.
I think, obviously, Jesus knows the heart of His Father exquisitely well. He knows, with pristine clarity, that His Father wants His children to love themselves. Therefore, Jesus can say the, “as yourself,” so easily.
Consider the Apostle John. Apparently, he was deeply affected by a heavy dose of love in his relationship with God. The love effect of intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit saturate his writings. His words in 1 John may even feel giddy. Read this and see what you think.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we would be called children of God, and such we are.1 John 3:1
He feels giddy to me. Splashing around, overwhelmed, blessed, overflowing in the amazing reality that the Creator has adopted him in love to be His son. And he is writing to encourage others to soak in the same love! In that Divine, eternal, perfect, ongoing embrace that will bring any frenzied soul to rest, any person can begin to learn how to love themselves.
What a gift!
You know that you are the one person you truly cannot get away from. No matter how hard you try to run, hide, bury, or ignore yourself, you are 100% stuck with you! Ha. Shoot. But, being stuck with yourself can be such fertile ground for experiencing the gracious, juicy, healing, elevating, LIFE giving love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Are you willing?
Are you willing to move beyond the various works about which you have made your faith? Are you willing to allow our Father, your Dad, to have access to how you feel about yourself? No matter how scary or confusing the prospect of doing so may be, our Father can expertly walk you one step into healing and vitality!
Big, heavy sigh.
I hope you will allow the Holy Spirit to open you up as much as needed to begin to bring the healing light and love of the Father to your soul. And, naturally, you can truly begin to love yourself well!
In the overflow…
This blog hits close to home for me. I have mentioned numerous times how my eyesight issue has driven a lot of my doubts and behaviors throughout my life. I put emphasis on my physical appearance from lack of perfect or close to perfect eyesight. If I look in the mirror and don’t see perfection physically it doubles down on both the physical and inner turmoil in my life. I have come to realize that the physical appearance is a result of eating healthy, exercise and I believe God requires us to take care of our temple bodies. The big revelation has come in the form of being in daily prayer, reading my bible daily, developing a healthy daily relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, having one on one mentors to meet with to share my struggles in life, and a church home (working on this piece of the puzzle.
Thanks for all that you do to further the kingdom of God and I am blessed to know you and be a part of the solution in this ever-increasing evil world where Satan is working to destroy lives, but Jesus is with us to save lives. AMEN
Having had a front row seat to so much of your transformation, your journey is certainly inspiring! Grateful for you, brother.