Loving yourself, God and others
Written by Major Paula Pyle, Officer of the North Minneapolis Salvation Army Worship and Service Center
What is there within each of us that drives us to press forward each day? What motivates us to get up out of our warm beds to commence our day’s journey? Is it the air that we breathe, the smell of breakfast cooking, the adrenaline spurred by the excitement of an upcoming event such as the Super Bowl, a soccer game, or a tennis match?
We may not always love to get out so early in the morning, but whenever we do, the passion and momentum within us will evidently be seen in one way or another to those who view our outside appearances. We will achieve a lot if we strive to be organized and press forward to the tasks at hand as well.
For some of us Minnesotans, the Polar Vortex of January 2019 will be etched in our memories forever. But for some who strive to provide warmth for those vulnerable to the elements, bracing against the cold conditions – even when it’s as low as -65 degrees with windchill – becomes an afterthought.
The question is: what is this “love” that would cause us to go the extra mile, to think of others more than ourselves?
How can we love ourselves?
Sometimes we seem so unworthy of God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy, and peace. John 3:16 (NIV) says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’. Christ came to set us free from all our insecurities.
John 5:6 (NIV) says, “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’”
Eating healthy and preparing home-cooked meals are some good ways of attending to ourselves and ensuring we maintain wellness. It will eventually filter to every part of our being – body, mind, soul, and spirit. But remember, in addition to the nourishment of our physical bodies, we must also feed ourselves on the Word of God and pray daily.
How can we love God?
We must develop a personal relationship with God by inviting Him into every area of our lives, asking Him to take the wheel and be the driver so we can learn to love Him and know Him in His fullness. Psalm 23:1 (NIV) says, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-4 (NIV), “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
How can we love others?
This takes a lot of patience, forgiveness, listening, grace, and empathy. Loving our enemies is indeed the hardest of all, but doing so will help us to move on in life after disappointments, grief, sickness, job losses, and other hardships.
Matthew 6:14 (NIV) says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
In conclusion, we must ask ourselves do we have the agape love of God? Is it well with our souls? God loves us and wants the best for each and every one of us. Keep living each day as our last, for we have all come from the dust of the earth, and to it we all shall return. We have brought nothing into this world, and we surely shall take nothing out.
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