You are loved. If there is one thing you need to remember, it is that.
The enemy is constantly attacking our understanding of this.
From a place of love everything else flows. We cannot serve well in the church if we do not first and foremost understand God’s love for us and love ourselves like He does.
This may be a concept we can easily gloss over in the church because it seems so simple, but do we really understand the depths of its importance?
Let’s get real for a minute.
If I am being honest, as I write this, I am going through quite a confusing and seemingly barren season. It has been a year of many disappointments, offenses, losses, change, and unknown.
In these kinds of seasons it is easy to generate an abundance of questions. For me, I tend to gravitate towards, “What am I doing wrong?” “What is God waiting for me to do to fix this?” or “What new revelation do I need?” Needless to say, I can carry a lot of weight on my shoulders.
Today, I had a very humbling experience that reminded me of the simplicity of what’s most important. I was selling a piece of guitar gear to a guy on Craigslist who happened to be a man of faith. We ended up praying and talking about life, God, the church and our careers for a long time – totally a Holy Spirit moment.
The biggest thing I walked away from that with was a reminder of how much God loves us. It was as if Holy Spirit lit up this simple truth through this man’s testimony when my soul wanted deeper answers in every other area.
God wanted every other question I had to fully surrender to His love.
Do we want answers to our questions because we are simply too scared to accept His love as being enough? Are we striving as servants or are we resting as sons and daughters?
We cannot love others properly unless we first love ourselves.
In Matthew 22, Jesus outlines the greatest commandment we can ever have:
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NLT
Notice the theme? More love. But the most intriguing thing about this passage is the “as yourself” statement.
If you struggle to love yourself, the standard for how you love others is pretty low. The premise here is that you have to learn to love yourself, and accept God’s perspective of you, in order to serve the kingdom well. I also love verse 40 stating that everything hangs on these 2 statements. We really don’t need much else.
Love is greater than works.
“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3 NLT
If you are in a season where you find yourself striving at times, remember this. You could do the greatest, kindest, most seemingly-loving acts in the world, but if your heart is not full of love then it means nothing. God is after your heart, not your actions. Loving actions flow naturally from a loving heart.
Our identity has to be founded in love.
Everything comes down to the cross. What’s the first thing we think about ourselves when we visualize Jesus hanging on cross?
I grew up in the church and have always known Christianity, but it wasn’t till several years ago that I found relationship with Jesus through this truth:
The cross is a revelation of your value, not your sin.
Your identity is not sinner. It is not flesh. It is not broken.
It is redeemed. It is pursued. It is loved sons and daughters.
Loving yourself is very different than having pride
This is an important point to note. I believe one of the greatest deceptions in the church is that there is righteousness and validity found in false humility. It is not arrogant to be at peace with who God has created you to be and have grace for your flaws.
Loving yourself is humbling, and it empowers you to love others greater
Pride is promoting yourself and degrading to others
My ultimate goal in this is to encourage you to stop and ask yourself, “Do I really grasp the love that God has for me in this season? Do I really love myself right now?” Are we striving or are we resting in God’s grace?
“Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
We’d love to hear from you! How have you learned to better love yourself and love others? Reach out in the comments below!
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