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Encountering Life's Issues - Is there a God? Is God real? Forum : Encountering Life's Issues - Is there a God? Is God real?
Subject Topic: Loving Ourselves God’s Way - Ron Block Post Reply Post New Topic
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Kathy Bippus
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Posted: 02/10/2011 at 11:23am | IP Logged Quote Kathy Bippus

Loving Ourselves God’s Way

God loves us because that is his nature. 1John says, “God is love.” Not that he has love, or that love is some thing to give us, but God is love. That is his nature. He chose us to lavish his love upon us. If we get a real grip on the idea that the quality and force of his love does not depend on our actions, it will in fact change us. We don’t even have to want to change; all we have to do is catch a vision of his love for us. Remember the woman and the alabaster box, breaking what was most valuable at the feet of Jesus. That is the response of a heart that has caught the vision of God’s love; that heart then loves God. “She loves much, because she has been forgiven much.” She changed because she was loved, and she didn’t keep the love of Jesus because she changed. That love of Jesus changed her.

What we fight against in God’s love is that we see ourselves wrongly. Seeing ourselves wrongly is the very thing that keeps us from being who we really are in Christ. That wrong seeing (“I’m a sinner, I’m rotten, I can’t get victory over this besetting sin, I am rejected, abandoned, discouraged”) is what drives the wrong behavior. That’s what happened to Magdalene. She saw herself as an adulteress, and the crowd did, too. Jesus said, “Where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.” He was saying, “I love you no matter what you did. Now go and live in that love and acceptance.” The response to that love is a life lived in love.

So – seeing ourselves as made fundamentally whole by our co-death and co-resurrection with Christ, and loving what God has created, loving our union-with-Christ self, is the foundation for walking with Christ. The kind of self-love that is to be cast off is that which looks for our own benefit in everything. I know musicians who are always looking in every situation for their own advancement, even if they are climbing on the backs of others with cleats in their desperate bid to feel good about themselves. It’s that kind of self-love that is to be put to death. But the love that loves the self just because it is a God-created thing, sometimes bent and needing to be put right – that is right self-love.

A songwriter’s love of his song sees the song as it will be. Therefore he spends all kinds of time on it, without any thought. He loves the song into being, sees it in love when it isn’t yet made, and when it is only a verse, and then only a verse and chorus, and then a whole song, and then recorded with an arrangement. It is the whole thing he is loving into being. But he loves it all the way through the process.

We are more than a song. We are sentient beings, with choice. Our capacity to receive God’s love is rooted in our capacity to believe that he can love us, just as we are.

This doesn’t mean we should love ourselves because we are already perfect just the way we are, in all our attitudes and actions. I’m saying to stop condemning and hating the very selves God loves so much that he sent his Son to be born as a baby, live, and be executed as a criminal. He loved us so much that he resurrected all believers in Christ – he exerted that much power to save us from being satanically directed selves. God never fails, and love never fails, because God is love. If we embrace God’s love for us, eat it, sleep it, breathe it, it means we have chosen to love ourselves. To love someone is to desire the best for him, to wish him goodness, beauty, truth, and communion with God, all the days of his life. It doesn’t mean we have to love everything the person says or does. It doesn’t mean justifying or rationalizing their hurtful words or wrong actions. But we love their essential self, their real identity.

We can love ourselves that way.



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Kathy Bippus
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Posted: 02/12/2011 at 11:37am | IP Logged Quote Kathy Bippus

A Right Self-Love

We so often carry the independent mindset of the Fall into our Christian lives. “I can be like God, knowing good and evil.” It is the idea that we can be good by our own human effort, and gain acceptance with God. We carry this idea, and although we accept God’s forgiveness through Christ, we then set about by our own human effort to improve ourselves, to become good, to be “Christ-like.”

As believers in Christ, our minds have to be reprogrammed via Romans 12. In his earthly tenure Jesus had no consciousness of a performance-based acceptance with God, or a behavioral, rule-based system. He simply loved and trusted God because God loved and trusted him. Jesus set aside his deity as the eternal Son, set aside the use of it, and had to operate as a man directed by the Holy Spirit. He was no longer omnipresent (localized in human body), omniscient (“of that day and hour knoweth no man, not even the Son” and “Who touched me?”) or omnipotent (“He could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief”).

Jesus lived as we are to live – in that daily consciousness of God’s continual presence and his unchangeable love.

But often we live in the Old Covenant more than the New Covenant: Rules. Do this and be blessed. Do this other thing and be cursed. Be good and be loved; be bad and be cursed.

The New Covenant is this: “For we preach Christ, and not ourselves.” Christ is all. “It is finished.” There is no more for us to do except take hold of his victory, his life, his love, his power, and ultimately even his faith (for even faith is a fruit of the Spirit).

It has become cliche, but we’ve got to change our stinkin’ thinkin’.

God loves and accepts me. To hate myself, and not accept myself, is to deny God, to rebel.

This doesn’t mean I love and accept all my actions or attitudes. It means I love myself so much that I want God to make me into the self he created me to be. That means asking him to work his will in my life no matter what it costs me, to use me in the lives of others no matter what it costs me, to give me an awareness of his presence and love even if that means I have to be stripped of other things I cherish and hold to.

“God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.” He will not be satisfied until the layers of mistaken identity are unwrapped from around that fire-core of Christ-union that burns within us. It starts with taking God at his word – that we are accepted in the Beloved, holy, kings, priests, dead to sin, dead to self-effort (law), alive to God, slaves of righteousness.

But of course that is the last thing the enemy wants. He wants that fire-core to be stifled and shut up within the layers of a false self, so that we live in fear and self-hatred. This shuts us up inside ourselves rather than letting that Life in us go outward. It causes us to fear and hate other selves. The cure is to recognize God’s love for us, and then engage a right self-love – not a love that wants to put self first, but a love that wants God’s best for itself; that love will begin to spread to all other selves.


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