Part of loving others is loving ourselves. It’s true to one degree, but twisted to another. Yesterday, I mentioned 2 balancing truths that relate to loving people. The first was that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. They don’t belong to us – they’ve been purchased at an unfathomable cost. Therefore, they are not ours to do with what we want. They are ours to steward – and God does not deal lightly with irresponsible stewards (See Matthew 25:14-30).
If we want to radically love other people, down the the very last Judas walking this earth, we’re going to need something supernatural. We’re simply not good enough, motivated enough or selfless enough at the core as human beings to succeed at something so audaciously holy. In fact, we’re the opposite in our flesh. But remember what I wrote yesterday about Jesus as He knelt in front of those disciples to wash their feet? He was so secure in His identity as the Son of God, that He was able to stoop to the lowest possible place out of love for them. It is only when we are secure in an identity that far surpasses us – the identity of the Son of God – that we will be able to love radically and sacrificially. Therefore, it is not really about loving ourselves for who we are by nature (children of wrath, Colossians 3 says). Instead, it is about loving the Christ that lives within us (Galatians 2:20). This is why the first greatest command is to love the Lord with all our hearts. The second is only possible when the first is in play. To love ourselves, we must love the One who made us and inhabits us, and in fact has removed everything about us that is us, and replaced it with His perfect self. Learning to walk in an identity that huge and that awesome is a learning curve for our human hearts. But when we begin to search out the Person of God in us, we begin to understand that there is no such thing as self-care. It is rather about worship and stewardship.
Self care usually revolves around what makes life convenient and easy for us. It is aimed at making us relatively comfortable in the battlefield we live and work in. But stewardship is about worshipping the One who is empowering us to do what we do. David wrote, “You have done all of our works in us.” And Philippians 2:13 says that it is God who wills and works out in us what pleases Him.
Jesus’ life was a demanding, exhausting ordeal. Yet somehow, He didn’t have to tote a huge sack of art therapy supplies with Him to stay sane (there’s nothing wrong with art therapy by the way – I use it all the time!). Jesus didn’t cope with the extreme life He lived. He thrived in it, and He did so by staying close to His Father. It was the one “luxury” He afforded Himself. The Son of Man had no place to lay His head at night, no house to call home, no wife or mother who cooked Him three, solid meals a day. He lived a life of constant pilgrimage, persecution and personal sacrifice that left Him exhausted at the end of each day. But it was the nights and early mornings spent in worship and prayer that revived Him. Often, we fail to love people radically because we have not gotten to know the God who loves them radically. And without Love Himself dwelling in us, we will fail our mission.
Take-Aways On Stewarding Your Temple:
Have you learned to wield the weapon of worship? When the battle gets hot, the soldier who doesn’t trust the power and foresight of his commanding officer will retreat. Worship takes us to the heart of who God is so that we won’t run when things get tough, but rather, have faith.
Do you step away on a daily basis to be with your Father? Once a week is not enough. Sometimes once a day is not enough. Jesus was in CONSTANT communication with His Father, and therefore, He did not burn out on His mission to love a world that was actively rejecting Him. You can never get too close to your Sustainer!
Are you meditating on your TRUE identity? Studies are now proving that the person we become is directly linked to what we think about in our solitude. What we think about is inextricably bound to what we watch, read, and listen to. Are you putting the truth in, or are you marinading in lies and then expecting to feel secure enough to emerge from the fight victorious? It won’t happen. Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has set you free for!
By: Hannah Stelzl (To Be Continued)
Photo Credit: Flickr