The world has turned ‘self’ into a life style. Self-worth, self-esteem, self-respect; it’s all about ‘me.’ According to the world, if I understand the importance of ‘self love,’ I’ll be successful and nobody can tear me down. Did you know that God also thinks ‘self’ is important?
When I’m truly concerned with ‘myself,’ I lay the foundation for serious ministry. In Mark 12:28-31, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart. Once the importance of having a personal relationship with God is established, Jesus continued that the second most important commandment is to love our neighbor as our self.
This brings into focus a personal responsibility for each other; I’m commanded to give as much thought to your needs as I am to my own. In John 14:15, Jesus said if I love Him, I will keep His commandments.
My concern for others is a sign of my relationship with Christ. John 15:14 reinforces the importance of following Jesus’ commandments by saying we are ‘friends’ of Jesus if we do what He says.
God delights in my personal prosperity, He is happy when I enjoy myself and have fun! In 3 John, 2, the apostle John told Gaius to prosper physically as much as he prospered spiritually. God expects me to keep my life in balance; loving God, enjoying life, while at the same time caring for the needs of others (Matthew 25:40-46)
In comparison, Satan tries to promote ONLY “me.” He wants to make my prosperity and wellbeing the biggest thing in my life. Why? Because when my focus is turned inward, I don’t notice ‘you’ and fail to follow Christ’s commandments.
Only when I give equal attention to the needs of my neighbor, do I fulfill the commandments of Jesus. First and foremost is my neighbor’s need for a relationship with Christ (Romans 3:23). The Holy Spirit can direct me to notice opportunity to witness and give me the words to say (Colossians 1:9-12).
Second, I have a responsibility to be concerned for my neighbor’s physical needs; in the same way I care about my own physical needs. Helping a neighbor can often lead to an opportunity to talk about Jesus. Hearts listen better when physical needs are met (James 2:14-20).
Thirdly, is my neighbor’s need for discipleship in Christ like living (Matt. 28:18-20). If I’m not living a life that can be followed as an example of the Christ life, then I’m not representing Jesus. If we accept the responsibility for discipleship as a subsequent part of witnessing, more ‘new’ Christians would grow to be mature Christians.
When my life is Christ centered—I don’t allow my concern for “self” to stop at “me.” Jesus said to have the same care for YOU as I do for me!
Prayer: Father, help me to care for others with the same care you have for me. Show me how to reach out and show your love. Amen.
Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”
John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
3 John: 2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Matt.25:40-46 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Colossians 1:9-12 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
James 2:14-20 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
Matt. 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”