One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:28-31
In a world that has grown self-centered and very self-indulgent, it has become increasingly challenging to discover what healthy self-reflection and self-care looks like. But please hear my heart, even though many over use and abuse the self-centered aspects of life, it doesn’t mean that believers should become self-deprecating and totally deny something that God clearly instructed us to do.
I honestly believe that we (the church universal) would be much more suited to take our rightful place and love our “neighbors”, if we would start with ourselves.
Isn’t it interesting that many “Christian cultures” or denominations seem to circle around how awful and terrible we innately are? While it is true that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, it is also true that the cleansing of salvation is thorough. I wouldn’t want to rob God of a bit of His glory by continually walking around as a brow beaten servant when I can walk as an heir to the Kingdom.
That is exactly what Jesus paid for on the cross. He paid for all our sins. All. That means when I receive Him into my heart, I become clean. The rest of my days I walk out what learning to be more like Jesus looks like. That’s the beauty of it.
We know the enemy is only here to steal, kill and destroy, so it makes total sense that he tries to exploit and twist all the good that God had set into place, including love your neighbor as yourself.
I encourage you today to ask God what it looks like for you, as a unique individual, to love yourself.
“How can that help you love others?”, you may be asking. Well, it all stems from value. We only value others as much as we value ourselves. It’s truly interesting to watch this play out in people. As I have grown in understanding how much God values me, my natural response has been to seek to understand and value others more and more. It’s a beautiful exchange.
There’s no reason for us to continue this vicious cycle of needing to be less. God is more than enough, and His glory cannot be threatened by little ole me. On the contrary, I bring glory to Him when I discover more of who I was created to be in Him, and how I was created to love others.
Our God is an awesome God.