Treat yourself. You deserve it. I just need some “me” time. These statements are all too familiar for 21st century Americas. People go to great lengths, spend enormous sums of money, and sacrifice much in order to make sure they have what they think they need to get by. The Spa industry in the USA is a great indicator of this. According to Statista.com, the people pampering business hit a peak revenue of 19 billion dollars in 2019. That same year, the cruise industry generated 27 billion dollars and the luxury clothing biz topped them all at 70 billion dollars. Needless to say, we love ourselves to the max.
This past Sunday, Pastor Kevin, had us look at Galatians 5. In verse 13 and 14 of that chapter the Apostle Paul wrote that true Christian freedom should be demonstrated through serving others. He goes even further when he echoes Jesus and says that all of the Old Testament law is fulfilled when we love our neighbor like we love ourselves. So in order to know how to love our neighbors we must analyze how we love ourselves. Consider these 3 aspects of our self-love.
First, we love ourselves joyfully. This is an obvious observation. We do for ourselves the things that make us happy. When I am taking some time to refresh and unwind, I typically do not attempt a DIY project or any other activity that I have to pre-repent for the inevitable cursing that will occur while attempting it. Instead, when I relax, I do what I think is fun and fills me with joy. This should be the attitude we have when we get the opportunity to speak to, care for, and minister to those around us. Secondly, we love ourselves thoughtfully. We take time and think about our own desires and figure out the perfect activity for us to do in the moment. The same level of forethought should be utilized when we are loving our neighbors. What do they like? What do they need? How can I serve them in a conscientious way? Thirdly, we love ourselves consistently. There are multiple times a week when I have the chance to do something that only me, myself, and I will benefit from. And when those times come along, I take full advantage of them. Those we are in relationship with should feel just as frequently and reliably loved.
So, are your neighbors loved joyfully, thoughtfully, and consistently? If not, let’s get to work and turn our inward self-love into outward selfless love.
Questions for Reflection
What are some things that keep us from loving those around us? How does not loving our neighbors diminish our influence in their lives?
How can you love those you are around today in a way that is joyful, considerate, and consistent? How did Jesus love us in these ways?