Pursue Jesus and Use Wisdom (Single & Following Jesus Series Part VIII)

For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly,~Psalm 84:11.

“Get [skillful and godly] wisdom! Acquire understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]!

Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not turn away from her (Wisdom) and she will guard and protect you;

Love her, and she will watch over you,”~Proverbs 4:5-6.

Wisdom is so vital in all of life.

Believers are encouraged to follow Jesus and acquire wisdom. The pursuit of wisdom is not for demonic wisdom; the wisdom of this age is not always in alignment with God.

Godly wisdom is pure, full of truth, love, and has the best interests of everyone involved considered. Godly wisdom is holy; it is without sin.

Our culture promotes immorality and sensuality. It is ungodly. The movies and tv promote immorality without ever truly showing the depths of the consequences for immoral choices.

Our culture also promotes the lie that sex or marriage will complete a person.

As stated last post, casual sex is promoted. Not only is casual sex promoted so is love at first sight, magical/mystical/over romanced/over sexualized relationships. Many of these relationships disregard wisdom, true God love, or God’s truths. They sound good, may look good, yet they do not hold onto goodness as you fast forward to when reality sets into the picture.

Ex: Henry and Julie who fell in love find out a year later after the honeymoon period is over that they have nothing in common that’s not physical, they the thrill is gone, they fight over money, they hate each other’s families, and they are miserable. This scenario rarely makes it to the big screen. Henry and Julie maybe pursued lust/feelings over wisdom and love. Then we see them break up (if unmarried) or divorce.

Follow Jesus:

Jesus is love, therefore pursuing God is pursuing love. God helps us to love ourselves and others. When God is first, the voids in our lives are filled by God. We then make decisions out of unselfish, sacrificial love not lust (which is about pleasing self), selfishness, desperation, or loneliness. God fills all the empty places so we enter relationships prepared to give, not with our hands out to receive or be made whole by an imperfect human. Only God can completely fill the voids of the soul and spirit. God solidifies identity, not a mate.

When God is first, He can bring in an equal complement/companion. Otherwise there may be a temptation to pursue a match that is less that God’s best. There are no perfect people, there are God matches that are better together than apart.

Wisdom says, “Will the relationship add value for both people? Is God at the center? Can we grow together? Is there mutual effort? Are we headed the same direction? How does this person handle life, conflict, money? Would God or my close friends/family choose this person for me? Is this person even interested in a lifelong partnership with me? Can we be allies? Are we friends?

If things do not work out, are we leaving the person in better shape than they were before they met us? Or are they in need of deep inner healing after connecting to us? Seriously think about what you bring to the table. Is it good? Does it add value?

The people who engage in sex outside of marriage are robbing a future spouse of intimacy with that person and their own future spouse. The one who engages in pornography is robbing themselves of deep intimacy and understanding of what God intended with sex. His design was always about love; unselfish, committed, holy, powerful, intimate, sacrificial love. The devil invites people to cheapen the most intimate act between a man and woman.

Love is willing to slow down and pray. Love is willing to evaluate the situation and relationship with God. Love wants to keep God in first place. Love pursues purity. Love is willing to set boundaries that offer protection of both people. Love is who God is.

Pursue Wisdom:

Let’s venture into another part of process, pursuing wisdom. I have met many people hurt because they forsook wisdom.

Ex: Susie likes John so she starts having dreams that he is the one. Obviously God speaks in dreams, so she should grab ahold to that dream and start planning their wedding in her head (not wisdom). Hit the mega pause button. I have seen women do this and ignore the actions of John. John is a jerk and mistreats everyone, yet there is this dream/prophetic word-so Susie holds on for dear life only to find out later John never wanted to marry her, or worse they get married and he’s an abuser.

Red Alert: Every dream, vision, prophetic word needs tested. Every single one. Do not just run with a “word” or “impression” or “dream” without testing it to see if it’s truly God. I do not care who the prophet was who gave that word, it needs tested and confirmed. The devil speaks and can invade dreams, impressions, visions.

If you think you heard from God about someone, pray and put that word on the shelf. I recommend praying, “God show me who this person really is,” and watching them. How do they treat you? Do you always initiate contact? Do they invest in you at all? How does being with this person impact your life? Are you constantly confused about where you stand with that person? Are they controlling, mean, unloving? Do they treat you with love, respect, honor?

Too many times people fall for who they want someone to be instead of who they really are. Would you let your best friend marry someone like the person you are interested in? If not, why are you in that relationship?

I have seen women chase men like they are Jesus then end up disappointed they are rejected. Relationships are not mean to be like the animal kingdom; chase, pursue, conquer. They are supposed to be about love. Love involves mutual pursuit.

Evaluate your relationship:

Is your relationship life giving? Or are you in tears or upset most of the time? God wants His very best for you, for everyone. God ordained matchups still have challenges, they should not be loaded with confusion, uncertainty, abuse, pain, and suffering.

I have also seen both men and women cling to the idea that someone loves them or is interested in them who will not commit to them nor express their intentions.

Ex: Karla has been into Jerry for years. Jerry flirts and is nice yet has never asked her on a date, never expressed interest, and does nothing to initiate contact or getting to know each other. Karla is convinced his flirting when he sees her is more than it is.

I work in a predominately male environment and they have told me, “We flirt because it’s fun. It makes us feel good.” Therefore there is no intention of a relationship. For the unsaved person there may be an intention of a hook up, but not marriage or a serious relationship.

Get Wisdom! Ask for discernment.

“Discernment is more than the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. It is the ability to differentiate between right and almost right.”

Wisdom looks at the future as well as the present. Wisdom prays and seeks godly counsel. Wisdom is a life preserver. Wisdom says, “Where is God in this situation? Are we are good match? Spiritually are we on the same page? Can we grow together? Is this someone God would choose for me? Are my God expectations on this person when they should be on God? How does this person treat people, including me? Does this person demonstrate any of the fruit of the Spirit?”

Papa God I pray every unmarried person pursues Jesus and wisdom. I bind any spirits of impatience, deception, selfishness, lust, false dreams/false prophecies, and declare soul health. Come Lord Jesus and fill every soul with your love, peace, joy, and purity. Fill every person to overflowing. Impart godly wisdom and truth. Help each person make wise decisions about relationships. Prepare each person for what you have for them. Heal all past relational wounding, in Jesus powerful name. Amen.

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Boundaries (Single & Following Jesus Part III) 

Image created with WordSwag. Used with permission. 

Today I wanted to talk about boundaries in dating and with the opposite gender. 

I read a quote that has followed me through life. It is as follows, “Build a fence around your heart, not a wall. So people can see it’s beauty, yet only invited guests are invited inside.” 

God expects us to guard our hearts. I have seen people blame God for a lack of protecting their own hearts. I used to become upset at the way people treated me, then I realized I set myself up to be treated poorly with a lack of steady boundaries. People treat us, for the most part, how we let them. 

Guard What Is Valuable: 

We are responsible for what we allow into our hearts and lives. 

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life,~ Proverbs 4:23. 

Look at the heart like it’s a priceless rare diamond. Look at your body like it’s even more valuable. Both were worth dying for, according to Jesus. Why offer them to just anyone? Not every person we encounter is worthy of our heart, deep inner world, nor our body. 

God says, “Reserve your body for holy, committed, loyal, invested, mutual love.” 

Our culture minimizes intimacy to one night stands, random hook ups, experimentations, chemistry that leads to immorality, or reducing humans to objects to be objectified for personal pleasure. It sets up instant intimate relationships. 

Prudence says, “Get to know this person’s character before opening up your heart and life to them.” 
Lots of drama, heartache, and pain can be avoided if we understand boundaries and we grow into intimacy. The level of intimacy should increase with the level of commitment and the character of the person needs evaluated. Why?Because the more of ourselves we give away, the more damage can be done to the heart, soul, spirit. 

We should be the most vulnerable with those committed to love us and steward our hearts well. The world says, “Be intimate with whoever you wish.” God gives us wisdom to be intimate with those who will steward our hearts well and are committed to love us. 

Note: Lust is cheap. Love is expensive and worth doing God’s way. 

Healthy Boundaries: 

1. Give people access based on the level of trust, committment, and assessment of their character. This means we do not invite strangers into our inner world or just hook up with anyone. We value ourselves. You do not just give rare, priceless diamonds away. We grow to know people before letting them into our inner world. 

2. We do not treat boyfriends or girlfriends like spouses. Spouses have privileges and rights that dating partners do not. Please do not give yourself away or build your life/excessive time around someone who is not your spouse. I am talking about enmeshment that does not lead to marriage. It leads to heartache. 

3. Understand interactions with the opposite sex can be tricky. I am including some of my boundaries, yet just as illustration. Each person sets their own boundaries. 

These are my current standards so I can not be accused of being inappropriate: 

I am a kind hearted person. My intentions are to love people, yet understand boundaries are necessary for opposite gender relating. 

  • I do not correspond with married men or encourage them without a witness. I realized though I am just trying to honor Hebrews 3:13 and John 13:34-35, some do not see it that way. If I can, I send things through their spouse or mainly deal with their wives.  
  • I do not minister to males by myself. The only exception is if I see someone begging for food and I can hand them materials outside the window (in public). 
  • I do not correspond with single men I do not know. I copy someone else. The exceptions are it is related to business, it’s necessary. Several of my mentors and coworkers are male. Our communication is brief and about work/business. 
  • I do not meet with married men without a witness. 
  • I do not listen to married men discuss their marriage or emotional/inner life. They need a male or therapist/counselor. I will take brief prayer requests, I do not set myself up to be their go to person to vent. 
  • I do not discuss my deep inner world with men. I have girlfriends for that and Jesus.

For dating, I do not invite men into my home alone for dates. We meet somewhere else. I am not stating we can not be alone, I am stating I do not invite men into my home for one on one alone evening dates. Why? My goal is not to give anyone the idea I am looking for something I am not. It’s not because I have a purity problem. It’s because I choose to set this boundary. I also do not devote my entire life to men expressing interest. I do not drop plans for them nor share my deepest thoughts immediately. I have physical boundaries as well. It is not because I am a prude. I honor my heart and body. It belongs to Jesus. Why give it away to just any man interested? 

4. Refuse to allow disrespect, dishonor, or abuse. The first time someone disrespects you in relationship, address it. Turning the other cheek is about refusing retaliation, not being a doormat. You are empowered to say to people, “You may not speak to me this way, treat me this way, touch me this way.” Allowing people to disrespect us is devaluing ourselves. 

5. Follow through on boundaries. If you tell someone what your boundaries are, do not back down. 

Boundaries express value. When we do not set boundaries, enforce boundaries, or adhere to boundaries we set ourselves up to be devalued or disrespected. Jesus had boundaries. We need healthy boundaries. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin 

Honor-A Way of Royalty (Identity in Christ Part 18)

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Made Alive in Christ-Ephesians 2:1-10

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9.

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering, Romans 8:17.

Hello beautiful people. As we journey on this investigation of our identity in Christ I wanted to talk about honor. It is a way of royalty. I wrote about honor several months back, but wanted to touch on it again. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If you read the news, watch the news, or even engage with people you will find our culture lacks honor. Gossip, back biting, disrespect, bad mouthing, slander, put downs, sarcasm, unconstructive criticisms plague our airways and conversations. Honor is something everyone wants. Honor is not something everyone wants to give.

What is honor?

Honor: to regard with high respect or esteem, to treat with dignity.

Honor is a component of love. It is something all follows of Jesus are called to. It’s not just for some people or leaders. It’s something we are all to do. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” Jesus (John 13:34-35).

There are those who say, “We can abolish the commandments of Jesus because we are no longer under the law, but under grace.” We are under grace. Grace does not by any means take away from us doing what God has asked us to do. Grace says, “You are not made right by keeping the law, it’s by faith.” Grace also says, “If you are living under grace you will have a desire to do what is right.” We spoke a few posts ago about abiding in Christ. We will not be able to honor others without the help of the Holy Spirit. We may be able to honor people who treat us well, but we will not be able to honor those who treat us poorly. Without God, we can not do what He asks us to do (John 15:5).

By nature, humans are selfish and self-centered. We are born desiring the world to revolve around us. With God’s help we learn to be other focused and to give honor away instead of wanting it for ourselves.

When we know who we are in Christ, as the verses above tell us, we can walk in confidence. We do not have to demand anything from anyone, for we know who our Daddy is and who we belong to. We are heirs with Christ. We are not the scum on the bottom of God’s shoe. He adopted us into His family. We are a Royal Priesthood, set apart to do great things for Him. When we know who we are in Him, we can’t help but honor others. We did not deserve His love, or the gifts given us through Jesus. We are blessed beyond measure.

I don’t ascribe to the philosophy that we must focus on how awful and sinful we are to be humble. It’s actually another form of pride. It is a focus on self instead of a focus on Christ and what He has done. God has good things to say about us. He never agrees with our sin, but He does not seek to belittle us to no esteem at all. He wants us to have Christ centered esteem, clinging to His words about us. As His children, we are not scum. We are His Beloved. Also a person who does not like themselves or understand God’s personal love for them, cannot and will not be able to love or honor others. We cannot give away what we have not received.

What honor is not:

Honor is to not agree with what is wrong. Honor is to respect a person as someone valued by God. We can disagree with someone or something and still give honor. It is not a yes man or yes women mentality. It is a, “I will speak to you and about you the same way I wish for someone to do for me. I will treat you the way God would treat you.

We can fight against injustice without dishonoring others. We can teach, preach, and share the Gospel without dishonoring people. Our culture has made honor being politically correct, that is not the true definition of honor. Honor does not say what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong. Honor chooses not to humiliate, hurt, harm, harass, condemn, or destroy others. Jesus modeled honor for us. For the woman caught in adultery He said, “I do not condemn you, go and sin no more,” (John 8:11).

We are also not called to seek to control people or force them to ascribe to our belief system. Honoring others means that we allow people to make choices for themselves. God allows us the right to refuse Him. We have to give people the right to refuse us without disrespecting them or mistreating them.

I have had to ask myself the questions as a quick spot check for honor:

Would I want this said to me or about me?

Is this helping someone or hurting them?

Will the other person walk away with hope or despair?

If the person knew I said this, would they be hurt, damaged, or encouraged?

Do I treat all people like they are important to God?

Does my behavior reflect the heart of God?

The questions are not to be introspective or condemn, but to ponder if my actions or words are aligning with the heart of Jesus. I have failed at times to honor everyone; I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness of God. I know honor is something God wants to grow in all His children. I also know what it’s like to have insults hurled at me, to be disrespected, dishonored, criticized, and treated like gum on someone’s shoe. God does not treat me that way. I do not wish to do those things to others.

Every person we meet is someone Jesus died for. May we know our place in His heart and walk in our true identity as royal heirs in His Kingdom.

Final Prayer:

Father, forgive us for any ways we have not walked in love or have not honored others. Help us to abide in Your love so we are beacons of light in this dark world. Remove any negative thoughts about You, ourselves, or others. We are valuable to You. May we know it in our hearts and seek to give that love, respect, and honor to others. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

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Heirs to the Throne (Identity in Christ Part 2)

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

1 Peter 2:4-10

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected

has become the capstone,”

and, “A stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory, Romans 8:17.

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree–some of the people of Israel–have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree, Romans 11:17

Being God’s child and living in the covenant of His love brings tremendous blessings. Many people spend their lives believing God wants them to have a low opinion of themselves or they are to suffer through life. Part of being a child is being adopted, grafted into a new family; a Royal Family. When a skin graft is performed skin is removed from one area of the body and placed on another part of the body. They become one. The part that was grafted in begins to merge. God does not become like us. We become more like Him. We become a new creature in Christ. We become a beloved child reconciled to the Father. Hearing those things, how does that make you feel? Does it make you feel differently about who you are? In the eyes of God, you are a child, a co-heir with Christ, a chosen person, a royal priesthood, etc…You are not more than or less than anyone else. You hold your own special place in God’s heart.

Key Notes About Nobility.

1. Nobles have been known to have pure blood. They have been able to trace their bloodline back generations. In Christ you are made new by the blood of Christ. You are considered a family member of Jesus by the Spirit of God. Your sins have been wiped clean.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ~2 Corinthians 5:17.

2.Nobles have certain privileges. In Christ you may go boldly before the throne of God, Hebrews 4:16. You have been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus, Ephesians 1:3.  You may ask God for what your heart desires. You are a beloved child. I expect my earthly father to respond when I ask for something I want, God is better than any earthly father. He may say no to requests that may harm us, but mostly He is generous. You may also boldly ask God to do things for others or the world; it’s called intercession.

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13.

3. Nobles walk in their identity. I’ve heard so many Christians speak poorly of themselves and call it humility. It’s not humility. It’s saying that God makes junk and that the finished work of Jesus on the cross wasn’t enough to transform us. We were made new, and we are being transformed into His likeness.  Knowing who we are in Christ should not make us arrogant, but cause us to worship Him more. We rest in knowing that any good in us comes from God alone.

4. Nobles honor others. Part of nobility is treating others with dignity, respect, and kindness. Jesus had some moments with people that we would consider unkind (ex. rebuking the Pharisees), however God knows the heart of every person. Sometimes a rebuke is needed. Mostly throughout scripture we see Jesus displaying kindness and honor (ex. the Samaritan woman, and dealing with the woman caught in adultery). “Honor is what we give away because of who we are,” Danny Silk.

5. Nobles are concerned with justice and executing proper justice. The more time we spend with God the more fully we become in tune with His heart. He is not only perfect in love and mercy, God is perfect in Justice. He cares about the poor, widows, orphans, homeless, fatherless, hurting, sick, oppressed, and works through His children to bring justice to earth. You and I are partners with Him to bring justice.

So after reading these things do you see yourself differently? You have a special place in God’s Kingdom. You are not a worm on the floor in the palace. You are a beloved child. You are important to God. Some application questions to think about.

1. How can knowing who I am in Christ help me to fulfill God’s purpose for my life?

2. How can I honor others so they see God more clearly?

3. How can I partner with God for justice in the world?

4. What lies have I believed about who I am and how can I replace those lies with truth?

Healthy Relationships

Are your relationships healthy?

It’s easy while in a dysfunctional relationship to think that it is healthy. There is nothing to compare it to. It seems normal, so it must be normal. Lynne Foote, MA, LPC stated that a healthy relationship is built on respect, friendship, and trust. In her article Creating the Foundation for Healthy Relationships, she lays out some important information. I’d like to build upon what she wrote.

Respect: Honoring another person even if they disagree with you. We live in a society where we are quick to verbally annihilate anyone who does not think the same way we do. We are trained to defend our positions, and our pride says, “I am right.” In order to respect other people there comes a time where we have to agree to disagree, and honor another person even if they are not agreeing with us. Respect is rooted in honor.

Friendship: Friends are people who have something in common, but not all friendships are created equal. A friend is someone who looks out for your best interest. A person who loves you, in spite of you. A person who gives you the freedom to be who you are, but is willing to tell you when you’re headed for disaster. A friend is someone you can rely on in good times and bad times. Friendship is like a garden, it grows because someone is tending to it.

Trust: Trust is the glue that holds it all together. When you trust someone, you feel safe with them. You know that your heart is safe with them. Trust is something that grows over time. If it is broken, it takes awhile to rebuild and sometimes it is never fully repaired.

Here are some other things that I have found over the years that have been a good indication of health in a relationship.

1. Free of control and manipulation. The desire to control people isn’t godly. God gives people free will. He does not try to control or manipulate. If you’re with someone and they try to control or manipulate you, it’s not a good sign.

2. Free of verbal abuse or abuse of any kind. Any person who puts you down, uses excessive sarcasm, hits you, or any form of abuse is unhealthy. Get out and seek help if necessary.

3. Free of blame shifting. In a healthy relationship each person takes responsibility for their actions. They don’t blame others or make excuses. They take full responsibility and ownership for their parts of the problem.

4. Free of co-dependence. Each person is responsible for themselves. In co-dependency there is normally one enabler/care-giver and one person who is continually being rescued or excuses made for them. Instead of two independent people, there’s co-dependency.

5. Free of gossip. A person you can not trust to keep your private matters private is not a friend. If a person gossips to you, they will gossip about you.

6. Keeps their word. The person who says they will be there for you and never is, is probably not the best choice of a friend. If their yes is yes until something better comes along, then investigate the relationship.

7. Free of gross selfishness. All relationships have some level of self focus. However, if you are with someone and they are only concerned about themselves, then it’s not healthy. Relationships are supposed to be give and take. A one-sided relationship is one normally shared between a parent and small child and not an adult to adult, unless the other person simply cannot give anything due to mental illness or physical illness.

8. Full of forgiveness and grace. It’s inevitable when you’re in a relationship with another person that they will do something to hurt you and sometimes unknowingly. We are always called to forgive. Restoration may take time depending on the damage done.

9. Does what the other person likes. This one is my favorite. It’s great to have people to spend time with, but there is something about the person who will do what they know you like. That person is a keeper. It’s easy to do the bare minimum in relationships and coast through them, so, the person willing to go the extra mile is appreciated.

10. Is filled with love. Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy or boast. Love is not proud, selfish, or self-seeking. Love rejoices with the truth. Love protects. Love never fails… 1 Cor. 13. Love as the world defines it or most people define it, is not how God defines it. A healthy relationship is rooted in love.

I wrote this post because over the years my friend Joi has mocked me because she’s said, “All your ‘friends’ are not your friends. You are a good friend to people, but how many of those people would you consider a really good friend? If I don’t trust a person enough to have my bank account information, they are not in my friend circle.” While she exaggerates, as I have a few good friends, I still have far more people who call me their best friend than I would return the statement. She also minimal to no relationship drama as the people she interacts with love her purely and vice versa. I’ve learned the hard way that not all relationships are healthy or good, and I must do my part to be healthy and cultivate healthy ones. I hope your relationships are built on love, respect, friendship, and trust. Mostly, I hope God is at the center of them, for without Him it’s far more challenging. Love, Erin.

Love Yourself

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.