The scriptures say that I am to love my neighbor as I love myself (Mk. 12:31). The inverse is also true. Unless I love myself, I can’t love my neighbor. In direct proportion to my love and acceptance of myself, I will measure out love for my brother. I can’t do otherwise. God has set it up in this fashion. It is about capacity of love flow. If I pinch the conduit of love off from myself, I can’t give it to others.
This is actually a wonderful dilemma. If I could go about this world and love others while hating myself, my heart might never be dealt with. Who would ever confront me? I am making everyone else happy, all the while remaining broken in myself.
To Love Myself Makes Me a Conduit of Love
Yes, we have to be at peace within ourselves. As I stated in the other post, I am God’s gift to ME. Oh, it is so easy to judge, condemn, and criticize self as stupid, foolish or worthless. I know in the past, I have ridden myself like a kid on a carnival ride without a line – which is to say, I never let myself be. And at the same time, I was critical, judgmental and condemning of my neighbors. See, my contempt for self, spilled out on those around me.
Over time, I have seen the call to not only be at peace with myself but to befriend myself. Peace is absence of strife, but befriending is so much more. To befriend is relational. To be your own best friend makes you at ease within your world, not just at ease with yourself. Then you can be satisfied within God’s choices and circumstances.
To befriend yourself, you are set free from the endless search of finding an external source to satisfy. Another group, another person, another place, another situation. You become satisfied in your own skin.
Nothing Wants Me to Love Myself
Everything out in the world will combat this reality: commercials that tempt me to compare; media that says I have not measured up; adversaries that disdain my being; my own rebellion that wants more. All these and more set forth a counter to my embracing His sovereign choice.
So here is the secret of BFF–ing yourself: you open the door to your True BEST FRIEND, Christ. My receiving, accepting, and enjoying my self lets down my guard and opens my arms to my Creator. Resisting my person is like resisting the needle on the record—it prevents me from hearing the music. The record player is my world, the record is my life and the needle is myself. I have one option for making music with God. It is receiving His provided equipment.
So the whole purpose of embracing and befriending self is so I can open myself to Jesus. Then His love can pour forth from me towards my brother. I embrace myself, I’m involved with loving God, His love flows for me, and then through me for my brothers.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Love is the test of what is true. Love is the certainty. It is what is come against; it is what remains. He wrote into me, my design & destiny…the ‘me’ He wanted. I see the Lord moving on hearts in tender & powerful ways. Each unlocking, touching to open, undoing, loosing, enveloping Love, melting…in turn makes a place for another & others, to be set free. The places of lack, protected so long, He is breaking open, & Love drawn obedience is bringing a flourishing we never thought could be, to stopped up hearts…set free! Tenderness is birthed in… Read more »
AHHHH John, this post is a song of the redeemed, a PRAISE to the Holy God that created everything by HIS breath.
HE the great I AM, receives Praise and Worship from HIS people when we love ourselves……oh how lovely are the
feet of him who brings this good news. Bless you and much love that HE gives me for you……since I can’ originate
love I thank HIM for allowing me to be a conduit of HIS.
John, this is so profound. Living loved! That’s how Jesus lived, He lived loved! That was His secret. He said ” The Father loves the Son” ” The Father shows all things to the Son” ” I’m never alone, the Father is always with me” and on and on. He would have never been able to go through what He did, the trials he went through those three years, and ultimately the cross, and remain complete. He lived loved ….. and He saved us all!!! There is a direct connection of loving myself with knowing, I’m loved. Not a head… Read more »
Thank you John for your faithfulness in writing these posts. God in His steadfast kindness has encouraged me through your words. This is a vital message to the heart.
Thank you for this article. God has started me on a journey to self dicourving to love myself. This is going to be a great journey. Wow!!!!
“Over time, I have seen the call to not only be at peace with myself but to befriend myself.”
That statement stunned me – the thought wasn’t even on my radar and sounds foreign but I see the rich Truth of what you have shared. Thank you for this gift.
Oh John, ‘Christ in you, the Hope of Glory’ immediately lit up in my heart….the manifest presence of God in me….what is there not to love???
And Paul confirms in the verse before that this is ‘the mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints’ thank you God…for giving us your Son, the life of your Son, living in me, making me lovable…again.
Thank you John for hearing this(revealing) and reminding us, encouraging us with this post…
This brought to mind the parable of the prodigal son. I knew God loved me and I loved Him (so I thought) – with my head rather than my heart for a lot of years; the love of God was a theological doctrine – not experiential – the older brother who worked for [legalism/law: my early years] his inheritance that was already his in his father’s house as opposed to the younger brother who, in his sinful state, repented and went back to his father’s house – out of need, yes, but still receiving his father’s unconditional love. Father’s had… Read more »
I choose to believe by a choice of my will…”With God all things are possible”.
John falling in love with Jesus seeing Him as your beloved is the deepest relationship you can have on this earth I love my husband I love myself I love my neighbor but I cannot do it without falling in love with my Master and Savior.
John, another important post. I am contemplating the record/record player analogy. What it boils down to for me, is seeing everything through the eyes of Jesus, even me.
Just as the Father has loved me (Jesus) so do i love you . Just as i (Jesus) have loved you (the saint) so love one another . The inverse , as you say , is true , the measure of our own healthy self love is measured by whether we love ourself to the same extent as the Father loves the Son . The revelation of the Fathers love for his Son , the beloved Son in whom he is well pleased , is what we have been brought into through our union with Christ we have been brought… Read more »
Roddy, what a well thought out response. Thank you.
“We seem to want to say God loves us un-conditionally and yet in practice and in our beliefs we are saying , no , God does relate to you on the basis of your performance.”
Thanks, Roddy, I can relate ’cause I had that image of God, even from a young age, as the big “Cop in the Sky” who was gonna “getcha” the second you stepped out of line. It IS fear, just not the right kind. Bless you!
The love that he is toward others is the same love he gives us to love ourselves..