LOVING OURSELVES BY RECEIVING GOD’S LOVE
Loving yourself is not selfish. Loving yourself requires as much humility as the reverence in seeing yourself the way God sees you.
Many tend to lean in the opposite direction, capitalizing on the notion that loving ourselves should be most important above everything else. This leads to a selfish mode of placing ourselves as higher than others.
At times we find ourselves loving someone who seems unable to reciprocate. Some people are too disappointed in themselves to receive anyone else’s love. In a world where love can seem scarce, obscured, and withdrawn, where love is underrated and even, at times, confused with infatuation— Jesus’ unconditional love for you is the only reason you exist. Therefore when we receive Jesus’ love, that overwhelming truth stirs in us the ability to love others through Christ. God’s love, the greatest gift of all—engenders radical joy because the one thing we are designed to need in life, we are given freely —without consequence, loan, or “I owe you.” That is the nature of being in relationship with Jesus Christ.
OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE
For the believer, Jesus is the “living water” from which we will never thirst again. Now, that is a metaphor here on Earth, true, but do we understand its meaning? Jesus is saying that being in relationship with Him will satisfy us to the point where we will be overflowing with love.
The “food” (or love) in this lifetime is not what goes in our stomaches, but what comes from our hearts:
(Matthew 15:17-18) “Do you not realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man.”
We love others with our actions and our words. What we choose to speak or do with others comes from that place where we either have Jesus in our hearts, or we don’t. If we don’t, then we are giving love of our own accord, and the love we extend of our own accord suffers from the conditional, limited influences of a corrupted world. But Jesus’ love never tires. He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. We learn to listen by spending time with God; reading the Word (Bible), praying with other believers, and serving others. Without these elements of faith, we further ourselves from knowing Jesus’ voice apart from our mind’s voice, and from that of the world’s noise.
After we spend time listening to Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit work, we are better able to experience the inner balance of these qualities, sharing them with others.
A LOSS OF JESUS IN OUR LIVES
When we choose not to spend time with Jesus, not only to do we jeopardize our own connection to God, we also jeopardize others experiencing Jesus through us.
How can we blame God for not talking if we don’t give Him the time to speak? How can we justify giving God enough time when we spent mere seconds to minutes listening, but we spend hours on end indulging our personal desires? At the end of the day, we can’t expect God to just fit in with the rest of our lives, because God refuses to just fit in. He is either our Alpha and Omega (first and last), or He’s not. God is patient, but He is not gullible. If we really want to hear His voice, the only thing stopping us is our choice not to slow down and listen.
If we only believe in loving ourselves, and we are holding out on those who are seeking Jesus’ agape love, then we are starving them of fellowship. Jesus told us we show we are His disciples when we love others. His entire ministry was saturated in love. Even His anger came from love! His repudiation of the pharisees was not out of hate for them, but out of the agonizing truth that despite His love for them, they would not receive His Father, nor recognize the ways their piousness convoluted the message of Jesus’ love, dissuading the people who sought freedom from religiosity. Jesus told us that in order to be recognized by the world as His, we must love each other (John 13:35).
DESPERATE FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS
Faithlessness is a quick way to jeopardize a more fulfilling life. If you think about it, consider the impact you have on others who feel the ricochet of your joylessness. Consider how deeply rooted our words are when they are not stemmed from Christ’s love, and how our actions, when they aren’t based from Christ’s love, can jeopardize others’ ability to receive Him. It is a truth as equally relevant as it is pervasively ignored. We have difficulty commiserating when we don’t understand what it feels like to be understood. Likely, we have a hard time extending love when we feel deprived of it. Jesus gives us the love we need, but we don’t always feel ready for it, and then we don’t always feel we have it to give others.
Jesus is our reason to be selfless. Whether or not we follow Him, our actions will show the world what type of love we live by. We may walk by strangers without so much as a smile, without bothering to think of what it might be like to be them. At times, we’re absent-mindedly desperate to get where we’re going without consideration of how our allocation of time helps or harms others. Once we received Jesus’ love, even for the 1,500th time —we can slow down enough to love others the same way.
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