Monday, November 28, 2016

Love Yourself

In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said, “‘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’”  What He meant is that a person’s love ought to reach in three directions—upward to God, outward to others, and inward to self.

Most Christians agree that loving God and others is important, but is it important to love yourself? Self-love or self-esteem isn't considered a Christian attribute.  It’s often associated with pride and self-centeredness—and there are plenty of both in our world. However, that’s not what Jesus meant. He was saying we should recognize and appreciate our worth. God created us in His image so we could have a relationship with Him. Jesus died for us so we could be forgiven and reconciled to the Father.

Since God values us so highly, shouldn't we love ourselves? I’m not talking about a boastful attitude, but a quiet peace that comes from knowing we’re deeply loved by our heavenly Father.

A healthy self-love is essential. If it is missing or in some way incomplete, we can’t really love God or others as we should. A sense of unworthiness leaves us empty and prevents us from looking up to God in devotion and reaching out to others with affection.  God does not want us to have low self-esteem.

The Bible actually has many passages that tell us what God has to say about our worth and our value in His eyes. Genesis 1:27 says that “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." You were made in the image of God.

Psalm 139:13-14 says “You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way." You were made by God in an amazing and wonderful way.

Ephesians 1:4 says that “God chose us before the world was made so that we would be his holy people—people without blame before him." God chose you even before the world was made.

In Romans 5:8, the Bible tells us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus died for you not because you were good enough, but because he loved you.

If we focus on how much God loves us and the price He paid to redeem us, we’ll come to see ourselves as God sees us, and that will help us understand just how much we’re really worth as children of God.

Our self-worth is too often based on what other people tell us about ourselves. Jesus is the true authority on our self-worth.  Since He gave His own life up for us by dying on a cross, that should tell us just how valuable we really are.

When we fully accept God’s love for us, we’ll have a healthy appreciation for ourselves, an ever-growing passion for Him, and the ability to care for others.

How much are you and I truly worth? And what value should we place upon each other?  Often we'll look at the work someone is doing, and if they're doing a poor job, making mistakes, then we view that person as of little value.  But is this the correct way of seeing value in someone?

Think about it, if we truly saw the value of people as God does, would we still treat each other the way we do?  Mathew 25:45 tells us, "I tell you the truth, anything you refused to do for even the least of my people here, you refused to do for me."

The key to seeing and understanding the value of you and me and all other people in the world is to see our value in light of what Jesus did to save us! Are there people in our sphere of influence who are failing to thrive because we are not showing them the love that they need?

There’s no question that Christians should want to be loved and to love others. But it’s not enough to tell others that you love them – you must SHOW you love others! Love is not an abstract idea. Love must be manifested. True love is not just something you feel – it’s something you demonstrate!

We all need to grow in this area because everybody needs to know they are loved. You especially need to know how to show love if you are a follower of Jesus because He said, "All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other." John 13:35

In 1 John 3:17-18 the Bible says, “What if a person has enough money to live on and sees his brother in need of food and clothing? If he does not help him, how can the love of God be in him? My children, let us not love with words or in talk only. Let us love by what we do and in truth".

We show our love through our actions.  God has asked us to love others to help them thrive.  There are so many people in this world who are failing to thrive.  Are there those that we know who are failing to thrive because we are not loving them – by what we do?

Let’s remember how much we are of value in God's eyes! All of us! And remember to be kind and loving to all the people in this world because of what Jesus has done for us, and the great worth He has placed on each of his children.

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