King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
You cannot really love yourself (and why shouldn’t you, you are a purchased, cleansed and redeemed entity) until you love the Lord your God.
And you cannot love the Lord your God unless you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.
When your being is occupied with THAT love, your are ‘authorised’ and ‘cleared’ and ‘commissioned’ to love yourself.
Self-hate, self-dispproval, self-disdain, self-negation is NOT taught in the scriptures. To attempt it is to attempt something ungodly. If you don’t respect who you are in Christ, what’s the big idea of it all?
Self-approbation, self-aggrandisement, self-obsession is what the scriptures enlighten us to discard.
For the sake of comprehension, when you love yourself AFTER your loving of the Lord your God has commenced, that too with all your heart, your soul, your strength and your mind, you have a specific instruction: love your neighbour as yourself.
That means you require of your neighbour that they love the Lord your God with all their heart, their soul, their mind and their strength.
AND THAT YOU MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO DO IT.
Don’t bother with doing their dishes and dusting their house. If the motive of your Christian service is to release them to spend time pursuing God’s heart, you are aimed in the right direction.
Do for your neighbour everything you do for your own walk with God.
Too much of Christian service is replacement for the lack of love we have for God. It is the magnificence of His Grace that we are rewarded even for misdirected service because something somewhere ultimately accrues to God and he is fastidious with rewarding his children. God is famous for looking for excuses to bless us.
But Christian service is a non-negotiable.AND THE ONLY TRUE CHRISTIAN SERVICE IS TO FIRST LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, STRENGTH AND MIND.
Sometimes, I suspect, the Bible practices a very subtle and divine sense of humor. Read, for a moment only, the scripture this way: You will love your neighbour only as well as you love yourself, and you will love yourself only if you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.
Incidentally, who is your neighbour? The family in the next apartment or house? Yes, and NO.
Your neighbour is the people you live WITH. YOUR FATHER, YOUR MOTHER, YOUR BROTHER, YOUR SISTER, YOUR WIFE, YOUR HUSBAND, YOUR FRIEND, YOUR COLLEAGUE.
We think we love them because those feelings are so automatic. That’s the tragedy of automatic loving: it is never educated loving, examined loving, purposeful loving, ferocious loving. We things because we feel those swells of treacly emotion without effort that we really ‘love’ those ‘closest to us’. The sheer activity of it fools us: the Frequent hugging, the mouthing of platitudes, the boisterous gathering at festival, the general bonhomie, all conspire to hide from us that we don’t love them the way love should be practiced.
And we owe then that.