Matthew 22:37-39 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
An expert in the law of Moses asked Jesus which was the most important commandment. He said two are important: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. The second is like (the same as) the first. Hmmm. We’re to love God with God’s love and to love our neighbor and ourselves with God’s love.The word Jesus uses for love is agapeo. That’s God’s kind of love, the one that I didn’t possess or understand until it was poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit whom God has given me (Romans 5:5). I’ve never thought about loving myself with God’s love. But Jesus says these are the most important commandments. If we do them, we fulfill the Law and the prophets. We do the Ten Commandments with ease, as well as all that the prophets revealed about the will of God. We’re able because His love has filled our hearts. That is God’s will for us — to be filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with His love.
How easy it has been for me to love God with His love! And I do truly love the church (that is, all true believers in Jesus Christ) with His love! We are of the same spirit, brothers and sisters in Christ — no bickering, just fellowship in the Spirit! Yahoo! I even love those who do not know Jesus Christ by seeing them as He sees them — sinners in need of a Savior and Deliverer, to whom the Father offers mercy and grace by way of the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lord has given me beautiful feet with which to deliver that Good News. That’s easy for me to do because God’s love is in me. But loving me with God’s love? It never occurred to me.
As I lay in bed last night, praying and meditating on next Sunday’s message, Jesus brought to mind a friend’s comment that we need to love ourselves before we can love others. That goes along with what Jesus said in the scripture at the top of this blog. Then He asked me this: “Do you love yourself with My love?” I hemmed and hawed, I searched my heart, and I had to tell Him I really need Him to do some work in that area. I asked Him to increase my faith in Romans 5:5 so that just as I agapeo His church and just as I agapeo the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I will agapeo myself with the very love of God that has filled my heart. It’s all by faith and grace, and that’s what I need, Lord Jesus, so I can joyfully answer, “Yes, I do love myself with Your love, Lord!”
I’m thinking that’s going to change me greatly. I’m also thinking there’s a lot of us in the same boat as me. We are very hard on ourselves. We are “our own worst critics.” We don’t forgive ourselves at all, though we’re quick to forgive others. I’m not talking about sin here, but about being as Christ is on the earth. I think we wrestle with ourselves when we find we are not as much like Jesus as we think we should be. We think we disappoint Him. We don’t willfully rebel against God any longer, but He’s still forming us into the character of His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If this blog speaks to your heart and you want to love yourself with God’s love, I’ll join hands with you and pray for the Lord to make Romans 5:5 apply to you and me. I know He will answer our prayer, for He is faithful.