August 28, 2015

Four Ways to Love Yourself

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 28, 2015 

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39 

What? Self love sounds narcissistic. It can be, but the self love the Bible teaches results in selflessness. Dignity and respect for ourselves develops dignity and respect for others. A healthy love of ourselves contributes to a healthy love of others. Lack of self love results in self loathing, even disgust. We are emotionally stunted and struggle to receive outside love if we cannot accept and love ourselves. Because our Creator loves us unconditionally, so can we. Once we receive the gracious love of God here are four ways we can love Him, others and ourselves well:

Soul Care
We care best for our soul by first experiencing our soul’s salvation in Jesus Christ. Only a saved soul is capable of loving itself in a healthy manner. Prayer encounters the Spirit’s affections. When Spirit filled we are full of love. Yes, we feed our soul when we delight in God’s word. His truth reminds us of our 100% acceptance in Christ. We feel loved when we see ourselves as the Lord sees us. A cared for soul seeks Jesus. It avoids sin. It loves the Lord, others and itself well.

“We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Emotional Care
What does it mean to care for our emotions? It means we first receive Christ’s care. He forgives our sins. He heals our broken heart. He comforts our sadness. He holds us secure. Secondly, we begin to process our feelings in a way that helps us understand how God made us. We may have a need for approval, so we learn to seek God’s pleasure over people’s. Emotionally we are limited, so we know our limits and trust the Lord with what’s left unfinished. Emotional care paces itself in prayer. Hope, faith, gratitude and community contribute to loving ourselves well.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

Physical Care
The Holy Spirit is a resident of our body. Are we a good landlord for our special tenant or one that just gets by? A healthy intake of food and drink is responsible physical management. Sleep depravation and lack of exercise is not. Since we cherish the Spirit’s presence, we care for our body. The body is our expression of what God is doing within our spirit. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We aspire to good health, so we can help others. Love nourishes the body.

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28).

Care for Others
Yes, the quality of our love for others is determined by the quality of our love for ourselves. We are able to love our neighbor well when we love ourselves well. For example, we desire a nice home—love wants this for its friends. We help our child with homework—love tutors a needy child. We attend a marriage retreat—love sponsors a couple to attend. We go on vacation—love invites a friend. We want fulfilling work—love works to help someone find work. When we care for others we care for ourselves. God made us to serve. Self love is selfless in its love for others.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).

Prayer: Heavenly Father lead me by Your Spirit to love myself and others like You love.

Related Readings: Psalm 38:3; Proverbs 4:20-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Philippians 4:7

Post/Tweet this today: We care best for our soul by first experiencing our soul’s salvation in Jesus Christ. #lovewell #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 5 minute music video- Natalie Grant: The Real Me

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