Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these, Mark 12:31.
Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend. This devotion focuses on you. Yes, you. Loving yourself. It’s been taught that to focus on oneself is sin or selfish and to be a martyr for Jesus is the most noble of all things. Here’s an inside tip:
We cannot love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves. You cannot give away what you do not possess. It’s impossible. God wants you to love and accept yourself. He also wants you to take care of yourself; mind, body, and soul. God heals and He restores, but if we continually abuse the bodies He has given us, allow our minds to be polluted with garbage, and neglect our emotional needs, then we will continue to suffer. Also, a drowning person cannot save a drowning person. Therefore, we are expected to go to God with our needs and get them met and take care of ourselves. We are expected to take care of ourselves and love the person God made.
Many fear taking care of themselves for fear of being selfish. Well, a healthy person is far more capable of helping others than a sick and broken person.
Here are some other tidbits on why it is important to love yourself.
1. What We Project Is What We Attract. If we don’t love ourselves, we attract people who don’t love themselves. Two broken people leads to more brokenness. Each person seeks their emotional needs to be met primarily by someone else which creates a tremendous burden. The focus is what the other person can do to make the other one feel okay. It can lead to co-dependency and dependant relationships. Instead of, “I Love You,” it’s “I need you.” Two broken people don’t make a whole person, two whole people make a whole person. Also bullies, manipulators, controlling, and abusive personalities are attracted to people who don’t love themselves or are weak willed.
2. We Allow Ourselves To Be Mistreated. I have met so many people who refuse to stand up for themselves because they feel it’s unloving. When we allow people to mistreat us we are making a statement that we don’t value ourselves. There is a difference between turning the other cheek (not seeking revenge or to return the same treatment) and allowing yourself to be abused, belittled, and mistreated. Think of it this way, is your behavior helping the other person see Jesus or furthering the gospel? If not and you are laying down and allowing people to walk on you for no reason, it’s a problem. God wants you, hear me out, to be treated well. He wants you surrounded by people who will love you the way He does. If everyone around you treats you poorly, you may be part of the problem. What we tolerate is what we are telling people we deserve. Love is not enabling bad behavior. Love points to truth. Sometimes you have to say to someone, “I love you, but I will not allow you to treat me this way. These are our boundaries and if you want a relationship then please adhere to them.”
3. We Don’t Value or Honor Others. When we don’t value ourselves, we don’t value or honor others. It goes back to the, “You can’t give away what you don’t have.” A person who does not love themselves, cannot love anyone else. The people I have met who have done the best job at honoring, loving, and respecting others have been the people who love themselves. They excel at giving honor, because they know that they are valuable, therefore others are valuable.
4. We Are Stewards Not Owners. Our bodies belong to God. It is the temple where the Holy Spirit lives (1 Cor. 6:19). We are expected to take care of ourselves. In church we focus on getting our minds right, meditating on God’s word, and making sure our spirits are right. There is less focus on being healthy physically. I have been convicted at how I treat my body: lack of sleep, lack of water, lack of eating healthy food. I’d cry out, “God I am so tired, please help me.” And His response was, “Drink more water.” No joke. So, sometimes our sickness is our doing. Ouch! But true. We don’t own these bodies, they belong to the Lord, and He cares how we treat them.
5. God Loves You More Than You Love You. Sometimes we think God only cares about our spirit. Wrong. He cares who our friends are. He cares how we feel. He cares about every single detail. He cares more than anyone else. What matters to us, matters to Him. If God loves us so much and He cannot lie, then why can’t we love ourselves? It is not pride to value oneself. It’s healthy. Bill Johnson quote, “Self deprecation is not humility, it is the most subtle form of pride.” We have taught people to put themselves down to be humble, but what we are saying to God when we self deprecate is this, “You make junk. You are not perfect in wisdom. You are not the most intelligent, creative, Being on the planet.” Humility is a right assessment of oneself in relation to God. Humility is saying, “I am wonderfully made by God. He is the reason I am gifted, talented,….etc…” All Glory goes to Him.
Well, that’s a wrap folks. I hope and pray that your week overflows with the love, joy, peace, and hope of Jesus. You are deeply loved, today and every day. You have a divine purpose for being alive.
God made you awesome! You are not less than or more than, you are equal in value to those around you.
Abba, I pray for healthy confidence based on who we are in You. Help us to have identities that are firmly rooted in Christ. May we be healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Heal us from the inside out, and put us on display for Your Glory. May we see ourselves and others through Your eyes. Impart boldness, confidence, hope, and wisdom. Fill us up, then pour us out. I ask for divine healing, restoration, and freedom! In Jesus mighty name, Amen.