Learning To Love

Some would say that it is selfish to try to cultivate a deeper love for ourselves, or that we already love ourselves too much and need to love ourselves less. But Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind,” and that the second commandment, to “love your neighbor as yourself,” is equally important (Matthew 22:37-39 italics mine).


I want to pose the question: How can we give something we don’t have? How can we show others how much God’s love changes a person for the better if others don’t see us as the recipients of His lavish love? Does a woman who knows she is deeply loved by God consistently walk around moping, stressed, depressed, and complaining about life? Not if the love of God has entered her heart and penetrated her soul. I’m not saying that Christians should never feel stressed or depressed by life’s difficulties, but we can’t let our circumstances continually rob us of personally experiencing and expressing the love of God.


Indeed, what we believe about ourselves may seem like a small thing, but like the incredibly slight shifting of the earth’s crust beneath the ocean floor, it is not. Those tiny shifts in the depths of the ocean cause a mighty chain reaction at the surface, possibly creating a tsunami of deadly force. Similarly, those little beliefs deep within your heart create an overwhelming effect on the surface of your life. Positive beliefs can create a tidal wave of blessings, while negative beliefs can create a tidal wave of destruction.  


Excerpted from Completely His: Loving Jesus Without Limits by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2007.  All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.