1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 - Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.
Just about every friend I have is on a diet right now. Even the neighborhood kids aren't eating as many Twinkies, for some reason. I don't know about you, but I feel absolutely starved while watching TV ads for pepperoni pizza, extra-moist desserts, and old-fashioned lemonade. More often than not though, the TV turns right around and makes me feel fat and guilty by touting diet plans and exercise machines.
If all of us were satisfied with ourselves, it probably wouldn't take long until diet products passed out of our lives forever. But most of us are not satisfied with ourselves. Maybe it's because all kinds of people are only too glad to tell us what we're doing wrong. Sometimes the advice is free. Often we pay $14.95 for the privilege of reading a book listing our faults and telling us how to get rid of our hang-ups.
"Assert yourself!" "Vegetarians have more fun!" "Learn to say no!" "Learn to say yes!" "Jog your way to nirvana for fun and profit!" Yep, we've heard them all before, more than a few hundred times.
Are you satisfied with yourself? I hope so, because God made only one of you. You are very precious to Him. "What you are is God's gift to you," as the modern proverb goes, and God's gifts are always worthwhile (see James 1:17).
The adage ends, of course, with "What you make of yourself is your gift to God." While our culture is fixated on outward appearances, I seem to have a case of terminal acne. I may not exit adolescence until I'm 40. If we let ourselves become paralyzed by society's demands though, we won't have much time to work on making ourselves gifts to God.
Loving yourself doesn't mean "anything goes," and letting yourself go with it. Setting goals for both the short and long term helps me assert self-discipline and makes for better days ahead. Also, in deciding upon goals, it's good to keep in mind that God sees not as man sees. As it is written in 1 Samuel: "For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).
What would you like your life to be like? Do you love yourself enough to make change possible? Jesus calls us to Himself, so we can live our best life possible. He has told us, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:10b-11).
By Jesus' loving work on my behalf—living, dying, and rising from the grave to new life—He has made all who trust in Him by faith victorious over life, with all its demands and expectations. Jesus loves me, and because He loves me, I can love me, too.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we are all made in Your image. Teach us to love ourselves, even when we feel unlovely. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, October 1978 issue, "Loving Me," by Jane Fryar
1. Has your image of self changed since pandemic restrictions have begun?
2. How does God keep us blameless until the coming of Jesus?
3. How do you try to be the best you can be for God?
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