Perfect Love and How We Love
Updated: Jul 26
Self-love makes a lot of us feel uncomfortable. It’s not arrogant or egotistical.
It does not mean I value myself over others.
To the contrary, it’s necessary and even commanded … right after loving God with all my heart, soul, and mind.
Obviously, I’m still working this out in real-life practical terms like every other human on the planet. I’m nowhere near achieving the goal and some days I feel like I’ve fallen to the bottom of the ladder again and need to claw my way back up the rungs.
I’m just writing this out as a way of processing this love thing and trying to figure out how it all fits together. I need a roadmap, and maybe you do too. It’s simple, and not so easy.
Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV), “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Emphasis mine)
1 John 4:8 (ESV) says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Love God, love self, love other people. And to love someone, we must know them; know their character and intentions toward us.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV) which describes how God loves. It’s a great starting point for knowing His character and intentions toward us. It’s also a great starting point for evaluating how we love self and others.
* In no way does God ever want you to remain near someone who abuses with words, manipulates, controls, or is violent in words, actions, or emotions. To the contrary, God want you to love yourself enough to move to safety and create distance from someone who is harming you.
In addition, love disciplines when we act in ways that can produce harm to self or others. Hebrews 12:6 (ESV), “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Because who sees a friend headed for trouble and just lets him run headlong into disaster?
In my mind, it all starts with knowing God and His love. It’s kind of cool to read through scripture and believe what it says God is thinking about me … about you. Because it’s foundational for being filled with His love. Letting it sink in not just my head but my heart and my bones.
I want to be so filled with it, that I can’t help but pour it out. Cause y’all probably know whatever you’re full of is what gets poured out on everyone around you whether you like it or not. We can be filled with lots of stuff that is not love – shame, guilt, bitterness, anger. None producing the kind of righteousness God desires (James 1:20).
It blows my mind that before God breathed life into the first human, He knew how you and I would hammer nails into his hands and feet. And He loved us so much He created us anyway and made a way for us to be reconciled with Him for eternity. I’ve never met that kind of love on this side of heaven, and probably never will until Jesus returns.
And that’s how He wants me to see me. Worth the effort because He said so.
And that’s how He wants me to see every other human on the planet. Lord, help me! I’m a long way from that! I know He will be faithful to help me move along in the right direction, teaching and correcting. Goodness, I’m thankful for His patience because I’m a hot mess!
Here are some things Scripture says about how God sees us – they are true for me, true for you, and true for every other human on the planet. (The emphasis in these scriptures is mine.). I encourage you to personalize these by replacing “you” or “us” with your own name.
See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him. (1 John 3:1)
God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5)
For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)
But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (Ephesians 2:4-5)
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. (Romans 5:5)
My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline, and don’t be upset when He corrects you. For the LORD corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom He delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul. (Psalm 31:7)
I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:20-23)
“The Lord your God is in your midst — a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.” (1 John 3:1)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:20)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11