‘I need to be size 4. I must have expensive beauty treatments. I have to have the best of everything.’ These are some of the statements or thoughts the world encourages women to have about ourselves. They want us to focus on the outside and the extremes we don’t have. Distracting us keeps us blind to the true healthy way to love ourselves according to Christ’s love design.
Our Thoughts Lead Our Self-Love
Because we can only do what we know, we must learn and do something different to change our mind and life. The only way to change the pattern and health of your thoughts is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ every day, and by studying God’s word. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
All of our discovery, understanding, and decisions come from our minds. Our minds are the battlefield for our soul, as Joyce Meyer often states. When you pray, listen to praise music, and study God’s word, you will get personally connected to his heart. Dwelling in the presence of Jesus throughout your day and working with him will transform you.
Scripture tells us to put on the armor of God, which includes the helmet of salvation. Knowing what happens in our salvation is vital for us to understand how important it is to love our mind by filling it with God’s word and love. The devil tempted Jesus in the desert through his mind once his body was challenged with thirst, hunger, and the elements of the desert for forty days.
Because Jesus kept his mind filled with God’s love and truth, he was able to overcome his temptations in God’s love. It is crucial for us to follow Christ’s example if we want to overcome our temptations. To make sure we love our mind, we must fill it full of God’s word and our personal daily experiences with Jesus.
Our Words are Life or Death
Change the words you speak to yourself, and you will change your life. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT The ultimate truth you believe about yourself is what you say to yourself.
When we have made it a habit to tell ourselves that we are stupid, dumb, not good enough, or that something will always go wrong, we create a wall a deception in our mind. This wall stands between our mind and God’s truth. Until we choose to discover, to believe, and to speak God’s truth in our life about who we are in Christ, we will continue to live in dark deception.
As we proclaim the truth of God instead of tearing ourselves down, we will dismantle our personal wall of deception one lie at a time. The lies we have believed or spoken internally can only be destroyed by the truth of God. When we have grown up in an unhealthy, dysfunctional, or negative environment, we may not realize how we have learned to talk destructively to ourselves, especially when we face a challenge. Even if we knew about our negativity, we might have tried to stop on our own without success.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, the bestselling author tells us, ‘our self-talk is linked to our mental, spiritual, and physical health.’ To be our healthiest, we must transform our self-talk into self-love in Christ as we grow in our personal relationship with him. Only we can choose to speak words of life or death.
Love Must Have Actions
The life of Jesus is full of loving actions to others, to God, and to himself. Jesus said, ‘Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.’ 1 John 3:18 NLT To ensure we are loving God first and loving others as we love ourselves, we must walk hand-in-hand with Jesus every day.
As disciples of Jesus, we are instructed to be transformed into his likeness. The Bible does not say we will automatically be transformed, it states we will go from ‘holy to holy.’ Our faith journey is a parallel look at the process of our transformation to become like Jesus. Both require our belief, action, and a clear understanding that we are responsible for participating with Jesus in our journey.
Jesus shows us how his love is a verb, an action as well as responsibility, respect, obedience, freedom, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. He loved people, and he walked away and took breaks when he needed them. He went away to spend time with his Father, God, to personally dwell in his love. He never allowed anyone to hurt him physically until it was time for him to fulfill his mission to be the sacrifice for our sins on the cross.
Living in Christ’s Self-Love
Jesus shows us that to love God is to love ourselves as we love God and others. As Jesus dwells in us, we are responsible for making sure our temple, which is our mind, body, and spirit, are filled with Christ’s love. Christ’s healthy love is balanced and void of extremes and worldly expectation.
I’m not saying that if you want a day at the spa or a manicure or pedicure, you are being extreme. You can treat yourself, but guard against your flesh desires to make your treats your normal or that you deserve it and should expect it. Christ’s self-love doesn’t inflate your flesh, it refreshes and refills it when you walk with Jesus.
To be at our best to fulfill our missions for God, we are commanded to love ourselves. When we follow the thoughts, words, and actions of Jesus while he lived on earth, we will learn how to love ourselves. We will be prepared and dwell in his love to love others as Christ loves us every day. Live in his love as you love yourself and thrive in life!
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