When Jesus was asked about the most important commandment from God, He was quick to answer, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
I think we get that we’re to put God first and to love all of who He is with all of who we are. That’s clear. And then the second commandment, “You shall love your neighbor . . . ” is another part we understand. It’s the last part of this message from our Lord that so often gets messed up . . . and that’s the “love yourself” part.
Why do so many people have a hard time loving themselves? I think it’s because we are totally confused about who we are and our value! So I hope you will open your mind and heart and explore God’s truth about YOU!
First of all, let’s put aside all the junky messages we’ve heard or received over the years that have come from people and from our culture. Instead, think of yourself as the very special and 100% unique individual that God created when He made you!
Think of the Artist in His studio creating you as His masterpiece. “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15
Focus on God and His creation of you. You are just as He intended. He made you with purpose. He made you with beauty. He made you with wonder and artfulness. He is pleased with how He made you. You are His work of art.
Than then, think of this, “For God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” From John 3:16.
God’s love for you and His desire to be reconciled in fullness with you was so great that He gave His most precious gift so He could have you back! He valued you so much that He gave His very best in exchange for you.
To top it off, He treasures you so much that He decided to inhabit you! He came in Spirit to live in you! Why? Because you are lovely. You are precious. You are valuable.
When we look at ourselves through God’s eyes, we see a completely different picture than what we see through our own eyes. We also see ourselves differently from the way the world judges us to be. And the choice is ours . . . the choice about who’s image we are going to accept? God’s image of us (which by the way, He made us in His image), our image of ourselves, or the world’s image of us.
When we accept and embrace the person God created us to be, then we can grow and enter into the fullness of our true identity. We can discover our unique gifts and talents. And we can step out in confidence and security. When we accept ourselves, love ourselves, then we truly can fulfill the second of God’s greatest commandments, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
When we accept, value, and live from the person God created us to be, then we never want to be anyone else!