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I want to ask you a question: Do you love yourself?
Take a minute to think about it. It’s an important question because your answer will determine how much love you are able to give to others. You see, if you don’t love yourself in a healthy, balanced way, then you won’t be able to spread the love of God to those around you because you can’t give away something you don’t have to begin with.
Now, I’m not talking about a selfish, self-centered kind of love for yourself that is arrogant and puffed up. That is not what I’m saying. There is a balanced way to develop a godly appreciation for who you are and the abilities God has given you.
I talk about this a lot because I think one of the biggest problems we have today is how we feel about ourselves. It seems many people have a broken record playing in their head that keeps repeating, “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me?”
One reason for this is we compare ourselves to other people and wonder why we can’t look or act like they do. Or we believe that God is mad at us for some reason…and then fall into the trap of thinking we need to try harder to measure up.
The devil wants us to feel bad about ourselves. He tries to mess with our thinking so we are always wondering why something is wrong with us. And many times we make the mistake of getting mad at ourselves because of it.
But God’s Word says that those who are in Christ have been made righteous. Second Corinthians 5:21 (AMP) says, “For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become…the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].”
I like the Amplified version of this verse because it helps us understand the meaning of righteousness. As the verse says, it means that in Christ, we are as we ought to be. God created us. He approves and accepts us by His love and goodness.
As soon as you accept Christ, His love is poured into your heart. In fact, He loved you before you ever accepted Him as your Savior.
I really want you to get this because the fact that God loves you is one of the most important truths you need to know. Loving God and then yourself in a healthy, balanced way is the first step toward fulfilling your destiny and becoming a vessel of God’s love so you can spread His love to others. It’s also the key to having everything Jesus died for you to have, like His righteousness, peace and joy.
I love what Romans 14:17 (AMP) says, “[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
That verse says the kingdom of God is not food or drink. I like to say that God is not about stuff. And He wants to give us something much more important—righteousness, peace and joy.
How much joy do you have? It’s pretty much impossible to have joy if you don’t know God loves you as you are and have peace with yourself. If you lack joy, maybe it’s because of the way you see yourself. Do you enjoy spending time with yourself? Some people get overly involved in activities because they can’t stand to be alone. And some folks are angry with themselves, so they avoid their own presence.
A good place to start growing in the area of balanced, godly self-love that includes a healthy attitude about yourself is by meditating on Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT): “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
Remember that God loves you unconditionally. He created your temperament, your talents, and all your other traits. But we all have specific areas we can grow in and things to work on. That’s okay. The Holy Spirit is willing and able to help you grow in areas of weakness. Like I often say, “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be!”
Wherever you are in your relationship with God, know that He has singled you out and chosen you to be His child. He is pleased with how He made you and His love surrounds you. You are the apple of His eye.
This article is taken from Joyce's four-CD series, Calm, Cool & Collected.