Tag Archives: self-love

Love Yourself, Love Your Neighbor

Lately, I’ve been blabbing about loving yourself. So this week, we’ll go back to the Why and How?? so that you can love your ‘neighbor’ as you love yourself.

As we’ve learned, loving yourself positions you to love others. With healthy relationships (especially with God), finances, mind, emotions, and spirit, you’re armed to help others do the same. But, how does that look? We’ll learn that our love falls into similar categories as the spiritual formation I recently addressed. So, let’s frame my input like that.

Relationships. Our connections are vital! The Bible says much about interacting with others in a godly way to maintain and deepen those connections used to present God’s Kingdom to others. Here are several biblical tips for keeping those connections alive:

  • … be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger —James 1:19.
  • BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger —Ephesians 4:26.
  • … but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. —Matthew 5:39-42.

Finances. You cannot help others financially without money! But, once you get your finances under control, you may have resources with which to help clothe, feed, or house others—things on which Jesus said He’ll judge us (Matthew 25:31-46).

Physical health. Jesus told us to ‘go.’ The ‘going’ is necessary to establish new relationships with which to be and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Our healthy relationships also allow us to ‘go’ and help others.

Emotional and mental health. This area affects relationships. When we’re healthy emotionally and mentally, we’ll be positioned to mentor others, listen to them in their pain, aid in healing, etc.

Spiritual. Once healthy, we can be godly models of spiritual practices, including Bible study, prayer, accountability, and discipleship. That’s how others can grow spiritually; spiritual growth positively affects all others!

In summary, loving your neighbor can happen when we love ourselves. Being healthy relationally, spiritually, financially, etc., sets us up to aid others by being godly models, helping physically, ‘being there’ emotionally, and assisting in feeding, housing, and clothing the less fortunate. Here’s the good news: you can still love others even while you’re becoming healthy. Just do what you can, give to others as you can.

Next week’s topic will be Just Who Did Jesus Tick off, Anyway?? To support our passivity, we sometimes make Jesus passive. To support our angry, polarizing, and political rhetoric, we often make Jesus political. You’ll discover that the answer is somewhere in between, but always in God’s framework and mission, not ours.

Questions or comments? Email publisher@taylorpress.net.

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Ron Braley, Northview Christian Church

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 publisher@taylorpress.net.

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