RPM, Volume 11, Number 8, February 22 to February 28 2009

Do You Love Yourself?

By Jim Williams

Editor's Note: We all have thoughts — some good - some bad, but nonetheless they are thoughts. Our thoughts should be reflected upon and dealt with biblically (Rom. 12:1-3; Gal. 6:3; Phil. 3:12-17; Phil. 4:8-9; 2 Pet. 3:1, etc.). ‘Just Thinkin' Out Loud' (spelling of ‘thinkin'' is purposeful) is a series of thoughts that are being made public. You may or may not agree with all of the thoughts you read in this series, but it will help all of us to discuss them — out loud. The hope of the author and editors at IIIM is that this will assist all of us to begin personal reflection upon our own thoughts and compare them with God's perspective in Holy Scripture. Readers are encouraged to use small discussion groups and/or our RPM forum for any irenic discussion(s) of these specific thoughts and others they may bring about.
"If you really knew me, you wouldn't like me." This was the comment of a caller to a talk show, and it is all too common among us. What sort of life breeds this state of mind? Basically, it would seem very believable for this to come from a person who does not know Christ as Savior, but it is very prevalent among believers, as well. The big difference is an active effort by the Holy Spirit to wean that person away from this conviction. First of all, God loves us as a Creator loves His Creation, but believers are the apple of His eye, and have a special attention from Him. Psalm 32:8 tells us what that He will guide us with His eye upon us, but even then, we sin. When we sin, we hate ourselves for it. The particular way out of this circle is the ceasing from the sin. God will use all manner of means to accomplish it, and accomplish He will. Believers have a peculiar kind of freedom, and that is the freedom not to do we want, when it is bad.

One reason believers come closer to God over time is that they see more clearly just how ugly the heart is. Then they see also more clearly that they are loved by the One who knows that heart better than they do.

It is a long way from hating self to hating a sin nature, but loving oneself. God's love, grace and discipline carry us from one point to the other. The rate of growth is only partially up to us. We choose the natural or supernatural and, most of the time, live with the choices, but, even then, grace can overrule. Choosing to do naturally will eventually land us in the woodshed, because of Philippians 1:6. Choosing the supernatural act is a climb and a battle with ourselves and the Devil, to be sure. We are no match for either, but guess who is? Nevertheless, this choice leads to a peaceful fruit of righteousness for which we can love ourselves. So tell me, do you love yourself?

Tell me what you think, I'm just thinkin' out loud.

This article is provided as a ministry of Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill). If you have a question about this article, please email our Theological Editor.

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