(If you’ve stumbled across thist post, let me explain where you are. You have landed smack in the middle of one of my favorite series ever. We started some time ago by learning that God expects us to love ourselves. Now, we’re going through the definition of love in I Corinthians 13:4-7 to help us understand how we can love ourselves in a healthy way so can love others better. Go back to that first post to read the series from the beginning and to find an index of all the posts available. Enjoy today’s post as well.)
Don’t Seek Your Own Way
Once again, we learn that loving ourselves biblically is not about being caught up in self-will and selfishness. In fact, loving ourselves means not getting caught up in seeking our own will. But how can that be? Surely if we loved ourselves, that would mean we only did what we wanted to do.
Nope. It doesn’t work that way.
You see, when we love ourselves we are willing to admit the truth about ourselves. The truth is when we’ve pursued our own path, we’ve messed up. We’ve sinned. Like Paul in Romans 7:14-24, we recognize that we have become enslaved to sin. We learn that if we simply do what comes naturally to us, it is going to leave us in desparation. It will end with the cry “wretched man that I am.” That is our only hope.
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both say there is a way that seems right to us but it ends in death. If I love myself, I don’t want to give myself death. Therefore, I’m willing to hand the reins over to someone else. Instead of insisting on my own way, I seek the way of God. After all, His way works.
There is only one way that leads to life and that is through Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:13-14). If I love myself, I will love life. If I love life, I will love Jesus’ way, because it is the only way that goes there.
When I love Jesus and His way, that means I will love to serve others, seeking their good and their benefit. As Philippians 2:3-4 says, I will do nothing from rivarly or conceit. Rather, in humility I will see others as more significant, their needs as more necessary. I will serve them and submit to them. This doesn’t deny everything I’ve learned about loving myself. This doesn’t deny that I must take care of myself and be kind to myself. But it keeps in mind the important reason for which I need to care for me. I need to care for me so I can continue on to help others in a healthy way.
Loving myself is much too complex to simply be doing whatever I want and seeking my own. That is shallow. It may seem like love to the twisted and selfish. But it really isn’t. The person who truly loves themselves in a healthy and godly way will quickly recognize how shallow and dangerous it is to simply seek his own. He will branch out and learn to sacrifice and serve in healthy ways. And by that he will not only be loving others, but he will be doing so based on a healthy and godly love for himself.
Don’t seek your own today; instead, love yourself.
(Make sure to come back next Monday as we learn that we don’t have to be irritable with ourselves.)