I've heard it taught to great effect that, when working in ministry to others, we, as on an aeroplane, should “put our oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others”. This is such a great and necessary wisdom, as, if we neglect ourselves, we will surely soon be forced by circumstances to neglect others.
Jesus, in the Gospels, commands us to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:31). This is not one but two commands to love! As with the oxygen mask on a plane, Jesus shows taking care of ourselves is the first step in taking care of others.
Do you truly love yourself? Or are you only tolerating aspects of yourself while masking frustration at your needs, weaknesses and failures? Jesus commands us to love ourselves! Moreover, He is telling us this is the first and foundational step to loving others. Do you want to love others? Then you must start by loving yourself.
Today’s scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 is often quoted at weddings, but seldom preached as a map of how to love ourselves. Loving ourselves can be challenging, especially if this hasn’t been modelled well to us by our parents. Nevertheless, Jesus commands us to do it, so, if we don’t know how, we need to set about learning.
The Scripture passage teaches us:
- Love is patient.
- Love is kind.
- Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Choose today to come into obedience to Jesus Christ and love yourself. This can begin by choosing to be patient with yourself, to be kind to yourself, and to let go of any list of your wrongs you may be holding on to. In so doing, you will rob the enemy of authority over you.
If you choose to do something out of obedience to God, then He will equip you with every good thing for you to accomplish that which He has commanded you to do. That resource will well up in you and form the foundation of your love for other people, your neighbours, and bring much life to you and them. It will be life sourced not from your effort, but from the overflow of the abundance of God’s heart. God is love!
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