Love Yourself, Part III: How??

Last week, we learned that being Christian carries the responsibility of remaining healthy in body, mind, spirit, etc., to the best of our ability in obedience to the Father and Son so that we can honor them and help bring the Kingdom of God to others. The good news is that the Bible gives us much of what we need to figure this out in two distinct areas: spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines.

Spiritual formation. Once we say, “I do!” in response to God’s call through Jesus, we’re to embark on a journey of transformation—in all areas of life, which is possible with the Spirit of God. Our change matures and forms several areas:

  • Relationships. If we remember that we’re to treat others with the love of Christ and consider them better than ourselves, our relationships will likely flourish (Philippians 2:3-4). Don’t go to bed angry (Ephesians 4:26) and be sure to ‘turn the other cheek’ to allow reconciliation (Luke 6:29). Finally, remember the ‘golden rule’ (Matthew 7:12).
  • Finances. The Bible has a LOT to say about sound money management. Be cautious about borrowing money and be content with what you have (Hebrews 3:5).
  • Physical health. Eat and drink (if applicable) in moderation. Get off the couch and put your body to work, even if just a bit at first. Remember that God desires to move you to action in His plans.
  • Intellect. Stimulate the brain by reading, studying something interesting, playing games, or assembling puzzles, etc. Say “No!” to the electronic stuff more often!
  • Emotional and mental health. Do what you can to keep your emotions and mind healthy by tending to the body, relationships, finances, and intellect. But, again, do what’s within your control.

Spiritual disciplines.

  • Prayer. It is our communications with (not just at!) God. Use Jesus’ model (Matthew 5:6-13) and Adore God, Confess sins, offer Thanksgiving, and Intercede for others (healing, finances, salvation, etc.).
  • Study. Engage God’s words in the Bible and meditate on them—it’s how we ‘put on Christ’ and become spiritually mature.
  • Accountability. We must bear each other’s burdens and confess sins, at least to one person we trust.
  • Giving (money, time, talents, etc.). The Bible demands it (e.g., Matthew 6:1-4 and 25:31-40; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Not only is it a necessary outcome of the Christian faith, but it can also help emotional health too. Giving stimulates the brain and makes us feel better physically and emotionally. It’s also a great way to take our eyes and minds off our troubles.

So, move toward emotional, physical, relational, financial, and spiritual health one baby step at a time in God’s direction as you love yourself. Next week? We’ll put self-love to work as we dive into how to love our ‘neighbor.’

Questions or comments? Email

Blessings and peace, Pastor Ron Braley, Northview Christian Church

Love Yourself, Part II: Why??

Last week, we began our exploration of self-love, the kind of non-negotiable love we must have for ourselves (and other people). If we care for ourselves as God intends, we can then care for others. But why should we do this? Why should we be bothered?

We cannot love others with the love of Christ if we are unhealthy emotionally, spiritually, relationally, financially, or physically. I’m not talking about sporadic unhealthiness, which does occasionally happen outside of our control. I’m talking about managing our bodies, mind, spirit, finances, and relationships as God desires so that we’ve done all we can to be obedient and healthy and movable.

We also understand from last week that Jesus has commanded us to love others as we love ourselves. It’s not up for argument—this is what He requires. We who call ourselves Christian have no right to abuse our God-given body, mind, spirit, relationships, or finances. There are many good reasons besides obedience to be healthy, to love ourselves in these areas.

God wants us to partner with Him in His ministry of reconciling creation. However, he cannot do that if we are unmovable—if we’re distracted with chaotic relationships, mishandled finances, a lack of spiritual training, or self-imposed physical deterioration. Once we’re movable because we love ourselves as God intends, then we can set an excellent example as a witness for the Kingdom of God.

Christians are on display. Our lives are no longer ours, but the Father and Son’s. Therefore, we must present an excellent example of self-love and love for others so that those who have not met God can. As you can imagine, a lousy witness through selfish behavior and purposeful unhealthiness will keep people from experiencing God’s Kingdom. Who wants to be responsible for that?!?

In summary, being Christian, a ‘little Christ,’ carries the responsibility of remaining healthy in body, mind, spirit, etc. to the best of our ability in obedience to the Father and Son so that we can honor them and help in bringing the Kingdom of God to others. What about next week? In the last part of this three-part series, we’ll dive deeper into the ‘how’ as we continue seeking to mimic the love of Christ.

Blessings and peace,

Ron Braley

Love Yourself, Part I: What??

Early in His ministry, Jesus said something interesting to the religious Jews interrogating Him:

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.” (Matthew 22:37-40).

What?!? Love your neighbor as yourself?? Just what does that mean, and why should I do it?

First, we must understand that this love of self and others is NOT an emotion that comes and goes with the wind. It’s the kind of unconditional love that is actionable and not negotiable or optional. It’s doing the right thing for the right reason, no matter how we feel.

Second, doing the right things for yourself sets you up for doing the right things for others, to love them with the love of Christ. If you’ve flown on a commercial aircraft, you’ve probably heard something like, “If you have small children, please put on your mask first and then assist your child.” Why? Because you’d be of no use to your child if you’re passed out or dead. Loving yourself is sort of like that—you can be of little or no benefit to others if you’re emotionally, relationally, spiritually, financially, or mentally unhealthy.

So, we love ourselves in that agape action-type love by tending to our relationships, body, mind, spirit, and finances as God has taught through His prophets, our Christ, the apostles, and others in the Bible. And we learn to like ourselves through healthy living and walking by the Holy Spirit, who reminds us of who we are in God and Christ. We can also observe godly examples which, in loving themselves, can now love others properly.

In summary, Jesus has commanded that we love ourselves and, in self-love (care and feeding of our body, mind, and spirit), love others appropriately. Next week, we’ll dig deeper into how we can make this happen.

Blessings and peace,

Ron Braley

Godly Women

Women are amazing! They tend to be patient and kind and often make great teachers and ministers even though they are often stifled and kept from being the teachers, deacons, prophetesses, prayer warriors, and ministers the Spirit often equips them to be. In addition, most church attendees are women and children, so no one else would be better equipped to teach and disciple them than godly women. Today, we will look at some excellent examples after first checking out some characteristics.

Proverbs 31 teaches us that she helps the poor and needy and is wise. She is hard-working and respectful. And she is made in the same image of Christ as her male counterpart. She walks by the same Spirit and, by the Spirit, teaches, comforts, prays and prophesies (Joel 2:28-29; Titus 2:3-5). Early Christian women ministered in the Church, even to Jesus and the apostles (Matthew 27:55; Romans 16:1-2 and 6), often as deacons (e.g., 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Romans 16:1).

Second, we have many great examples of wonderful, God-fearing women. Here are a few:

Rahab. (~ 1400 BC): Prostitute; savior of the Israelite spies; in the lineage of Jesus (mother of Boaz).

Ruth. (~1300 BC): Widow; Obedient & helpful; in the lineage of Jesus (wife of Boaz and mother of Obed, the father of Jesse).

Esther. (~490 BC): Obediently approached the king & saved God’s people.

Mary. (~20 BC): Obedient mother of Jesus; minister in the early church, especially Ephesus.

Mary & Martha. (~20 CE): Disciples and servants; Lazarus’ sisters.

Tabitha. (~40 CE): A disciple “abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did;” Raised from the dead by Peter.

Prisca. (~50 CE): Likely evangelized by Paul in Rome; tentmakers with Paul; disciples who evangelized & held a home-church (1 Corinthians 16:9). Teachers of the Scriptures (Acts 18:24-26).

Phoebe. (~55 CE): A servant in the Cenchrean Church (Romans 16:1).

Lydia. (~55 CE): Ministered in Philippi; dyer of purple; a worshipper of God who was baptized & served the Church (including Paul after prison).

Perpetua & Felicitas. (~200 CE): 3rd Century Catechumens; martyred for not renouncing Christ; evangelized the jail guard and others.

Catherine of Siena. (1347-1380): Activist; tended to the poor & sick; she is credited with composing over 400 letters, the Dialogue (which is her definitive work), and her prayers.

Mother Teresa. (1910 – 1997): Incredible servant!

In summary, God’s Holy Spirit empowers men and women alike to serve in the Church. Without godly women, Christianity would not be what it is today, nor would it have spread so quickly throughout the ancient world! May God bless you righteous women mightily!!

What about next week? We’ll start a three-part series on loving yourself as Christ commanded.

Blessings and peace,

Ron Braley