Jesus was asked the question about the greatest commandment and he replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”(Mark 12:29-31 NLT).
When we love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength, we are willing to be completely Holy Ghost controlled. We will allow the Fruit of the Spirit to rule our hearts through our thoughts, feelings and actions – Galatians 5. If we love Him, we keep His commandments. What is in our hearts is revealed through our words and actions toward others.
The second part of this commandment is vitally important. We are to love our neighbor as we love self. To say it simply, “Love God, love self, love others!” Many people have extreme trouble loving self. I wrote an article posted on www.carolclemans.org entitled “The Causes for Distorted God Concepts.” I describe why many people can be emotionally wounded from childhood experiences and struggle with loving self and being able to accept God’s love – describing distorted God concepts.
God loves us unconditionally. He came to earth in a ‘robe of flesh’ to die on a cross and purchase our salvation. He does not tell us to clean up our lives before He loves us – the Bible’s truth is we love Him because He first loved us! 1 John 4:19 (KJV) 19 We love him, because he first loved us.
The world says that if we please others through our actions, then we have value and worth – this is a lie from Satan. If you grew up with an atmosphere of non-acceptance, negative put-downs, abuse of any kind, your inner self-talk will not be loving. You may struggle with feeling that you have no value and worth. Satan uses this negative self-talk to paralyze your potential with God, self and others. You may be feeling unlovable, unworthy and have a sense of guilt. The battle is in the mind.
When God saves us through repentance of our sins, water baptism in the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse us from all sin and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are completely and fully forgiven, loved and accepted by God. But if you come from an emotionally wounded life, you may not feel fully forgiven, loved or accepted by God. Again, it is the battle in the mind.
When I counsel people, at some point I usually ask this question, “Do you love yourself?” Sometimes the answer is a resounding, “No!” Other times, the answer is, “Well, maybe sometimes.” Both of these answers give me enlightenment to the inner thinking. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” God is The Counselor. Our thoughts create our feelings and we usually say or act out what we feel. Again, the battle is in the mind. If you are allowing the pain from your past to define who you are today, you will be defeated. It’s a trick of the devil to rob your joy in being a new creation in Christ Jesus! The word new means unused, clean and pure in God’s sight.
When we talk negative to ourselves or about our self, we are doing what the Bible says not to do. Ephesians 4:29 NKJ – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” We need to speak God’s truth into our own lives. We are fully forgiven, fully accepted and fully loved by God. It’s not based on feelings! It is God’s truth. When we know the truth, the truth shall make us free! We must take ownership of God’s truth about us!!!
There is a song that says, “Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse from sin. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin.”
We must have mercy and compassion for self. We must love self with God’s unconditional love. When we do, there is freedom to love others unconditionally.
When we continually read and study the Word of God, we can have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2: 14-16 talks about the natural man who does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. God’s truth must be spiritually discerned by the power of the Holy Ghost. We must look at our self through God’s truth now that we are in Him. Romans 8: 1 & 2 NKJ – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” If you are not sinning on a daily basis but you are feeling a sense of guilt, it is a false guilt and Satan whips your spirit with this feeling. I keep asking the question, “What is God’s truth?” We must look to God’s truth to be transformed by renewing our minds with His Word! – Romans 12: 1 & 2.
Science of the brain proves that negative thoughts and words create blackness in our brains. When we have positive thoughts or words, our brain brightens with colors. Our attitudes and words either create life or death in our physical brain that affects our body. God said death and life are in the power of the tongue. Yes, God is The Counselor! Science says that a majority of illnesses are created by the way we think! That’s a powerful statement. How we think affects everything about our lives.
It is extremely important to love self. If you do not love self, you will not be able to love others with God’s love. How does this affect relationships? It will cause a distorted God-concept as I describe in the above referenced article. It will cause trouble in a marriage because your negative self-feelings will flow from your heart and mouth to your spouse and children. It will overflow into friendships.
God wants you to be emotionally healed through the power of His truth. If you have been thinking negative for years, it will take time to transform your mind to His truth. You must apply yourself to God’s truth and allow it to take root in your heart and mind. God wants to heal your mind and heart. If you are going to obey the greatest commandment to love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength – that means you must get in to His Word and change your thinking with His truth!
God is love. God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost. We must portray God’s love according to I Corinthians 13: 4-7 NLT, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
I Corinthians 14: 1 – “Let love be our highest goal!” We are to love God, love self and love others. Walking humbly with God is giving Him all the glory for who we are in Him. Our life, our activities, our abilities, our possessions all belong to God. Without Him we are nothing. With Him living in us, we are His special treasure. We are His royal priesthood. We are His holy nation. We are kings and priests unto God – Revelations 1:6. God bought us with His blood on the cross. We belong to God and we are told to give God glory in our body and spirit – I Corinthians 6:20.
When we love God and love self with His unconditional love, we will do everything heartily unto the Lord – giving Him all the glory!!!!!!! You will have the joy of the Lord shining through you and touching others with His love. Jesus will be returning in the clouds to catch His Bride away. He cherishes His Bride! He desires for you to feel His love and allow it to flow to others. We are to let His light shine through us before men. We must love God, love self and love others!
In my nationwide counseling through phone/Skype, this issue of not loving self is no respecter of persons. I’ve counseled pastors as well as lay people who fight negative internal self-talk because of childhood hurts. This internal negative thinking seems to be at the base of most emotional turmoil.
According to Isaiah 6l, the prophet foretold the coming of Jesus Christ to bring salvation, but added He would also heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. God being The Counselor knew that people would need emotional healing. Salvation removes our sins, but God does not remove our experiences, emotions or feelings. This is where we must renew our minds with His truth. We are completely made new in Him. It is His truth that will set us free if we will apply our hearts and minds to being transformed. It takes the discipline of daily eating His Word and communing with Him in prayer by the power of the Holy Ghost. Speaking His truth changes our heart and mind. We learn to love self through His truth.
God’s love toward us is not based on our performance. Our value and worth comes from God alone as our Creator and our Savior. He loves us with an everlasting love! Do not allow the devil to rob your joy through his lies. You are loved. Believe His truth! God wants you to love yourself with His unconditional love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God – Romans 8: 38 – 39 NLT – “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
© Carol Clemans – February 2014
Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor and anointed Bible teacher. She provides nationwide counseling by phone (636) 448-0121 and speaks for churches/conferences. Go to: www.carolclemans.org for bio, articles, teaching products and book: GOD’S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE.