Self Love vs. Self Denial

My insta feed continues to be filled with “self-love” quotes and memes. As much as I want to scroll on by, I can’t ignore the message that is being fed to us by the world. It is a lie and so many well-meaning friends are falling under it’s spell. And as someone who has struggled to accept my God-given personality and gifts for a lot of my life, I have found myself in the grip of it at times.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

I feel it is necessary to stand for truth in the midst of the rising tide of self-love sweeping the nation that is specifically targeting women. The above Bible passage tells us that a sign of the end of the age is that people will be lovers of themselves. Another way to say it is “too intent on one’s self interest.” That sounds a lot like the message being spread across social media.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.

Really, the bravest thing we will ever do?! What about slaying giants, conquering kingdoms, enforcing justice, stopping the mouths of lions, quenching the power of fire, receiving back the dead, being made strong out of weakness, becoming mighty in battle and putting foreign armies to flight? And the list in Hebrews 11 goes on. Does it take courage to own our stories, yes. But the bravest thing we will ever do, I think not. Living a life of FAITH is much more brave.

Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every single day and the rest will fall into place.

The Bible begs to differ again on this one. We are to seek first the kingdom of God and all will be added (Matthew 6:33). God’s kingdom is opposite of the world’s. We serve and become great, we die and yet live, we give away and then receive. As we prefer others above ourselves, we begin to look like our precious Savior, Jesus.

Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.

Well…wrong again. We are able to love because of the love we have received from the Father (1 John 4:19). Agape, or unconditional love, is supernatural. It doesn’t originate with us. In order for us to express that love to another, we must first be touched by it ourselves. The perfect love of God will drive away all of our doubts and fears about who we are. As we come into agreement with the truth of God’s love, we are able to love others and think more rightly about ourselves.

The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.

It is difficult to overcome our false self perceptions, believe me, I know. It has been a battle I’ve been fighting for many years. But you want to know what the real difficulty is? It’s SIN. We all have a sin problem. Sin is so much more destructive than we realize. It was powerful enough for the Darling of Heaven to leave His place of glory at the right hand of God to walk this earth as a man, die on a cross and raise again. All so that we could be delivered from the problem of sin. To have victory in how we see ourselves, we must first address the sin in our lives: Repent, receive forgiveness, rebuke the enemy and replace with the truth.

The opposite of self hate is not self love. It is self-denial. The Bible says that one must deny themselves by taking up their cross daily to follow Christ. We need to take our eyes off of our “self” and look to Jesus.

I believe the way forward is recognizing that we have put off the old self. It has been crucified with Christ. (Gal 2:20) We must walk in the truth that we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). By receiving our heavenly identity, declaring that truth over our lives and seeking Jesus first, we will find the peace we are looking for.

Heavy but Hopeful

“Sex trafficking–especially when it comes to the buying and selling of young girls–has become big business in America, the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drug and guns.”

As I read those words from an article published this week my heart sank. I am aware of the sex trade and as a mom of young girls, I think about it more than I’d like to. But something struck me to the core as the author continued with staggering statistics to support his claim. Here is a link to the article.

IT.IS.HEARTBREAKING.

Honestly, it is hard to put into words how I feel: shocked, enraged, grieved and scared. Part of me wants to lock my daughters in the house and never let them out of my sight. One of my worst fears as a parent is that something like that would happen to them. And if I let it, that fear could consume me. I could so easily turn into the most controlling mom you’ve ever known. However, I know that fear cannot be what drives me.  I don’t want to live in the realm of fear and control. So, what then?

Over the last few days I’ve been asking a lot of questions. How can this be the world we live in? Why is sex with young children, girls especially, so enticing? If law enforcement knows so much about the sex trade, why don’t they shut it down?

Sex trafficking is a daunting issue and yet I’ve felt compelled to do something. But where do I even start?

If you know me, you know where this is leading…PRAYER is the starting point.

E.M. Bounds writes, “The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere. Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventative. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. It is a voice which goes into God’s ear, and it lives as long as God’s ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God’s heart is alive to holy things. God shapes the world by prayer.”

The Bible says that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, powers and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). We’ve been given weapons that have divine power to tear down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

You see, prayer is the battlefield. Before we can battle on earth, we must battle in the heavens.

Are you afraid and intimidated by this issue (or any other for that matter)? PRAY

Are you angry and frustrated? PRAY

Are you feeling helpless? PRAY

Are you grieved for the victims? PRAY

Speaking from experience, I believe that you will come out of the place of prayer emboldened to take a stand for righteousness and justice. But you will do it from a place of faith and not fear, from a place of peace and not anger, from a place of victory and not defeat, from a place of love and not hate.

That’s what I plan to do and leave the rest up to God. He will show the way forward!