Since the middle of September, I have been focused on: What does it means to really love God, myself, and others. In Mark 12:29-30, when asked what are the great commandments Jesus states it is to love God and others as yourself.
Okay, this sounds great and easy, but to actually walk it out in daily life can be a daunting task. I asked God to take me through this life long journey of learning to truly love Him with all of myself, and to love others deeply, as He is teaching me to love myself.
So...What does it mean to love self well?
I have been hanging out in the letter of 1 John for the last 19 days, with the desire that God will reveal to my heart what needs to be transformed and acknowledged, concerning the way of love. In 1 John 3:16-24 John is clear on a few points of what love is. As far as he is concerned, it all points to Christ sacrifice of his life for us and that we too need to live with the same attitude towards others.
In verses 18-20, John writes that by practicing the way of love we stop the poison of self-criticism. Okay, the question now becomes what role does self criticism play in my life? And what is the connection between freedom from self-criticism and loving others well?
I have become aware of how debilitating my self-talk can be and it truly can place my heart, mind, soul, and strength into invisible chains that stop me from being open to the way of love. I like the way the Mark 12:29-30 passage is written in the Message.
Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."
Have you ever noticed that when your self-talk becomes full of self-criticism that it is hard to have passion towards God and His word, entering prayer is impossible, your brain becomes blurred, and energy is slow in coming. I usually need to stop everything and sit in silence until my heart can realign with God's truth. Sometimes I simply need to sleep! Wow, imagine that, our self-criticism can totally drain us, and I have personally experienced this.
These are my rambling thoughts for Decembers journey, it would be great to read your thoughts concerning self-criticism. Christmas seems to be a time when this invisible chain of negative self-talk likes to be unleashed. Thank goodness through Christ's sacrificial love we have a way to be free.
Love and Peace,
Be sure to check out the inspirational writings at Spiritual Sundays. Thanks to Ginger and Charlotte for hosting this site and encouraging us today to seek the Lord.