By Melissa McLaughlin

Heard any words that cut to the depths of your heart? Stood by quietly as others excluded, ignored or overlooked you? Betrayed, belittled, burdened with the harshness of the world?

Let Jesus love you.

We were made to be loved. Yes, we desire to be known and loved by those around us, but we have a deeper ache and longing in our soul that can only be filled by the One who formed our frame, Christ the Lord.

Let Jesus love you.

When we seek to fill our deepest longing with anything less than Jesus, we are left craving more. More love, more appreciation, more affirmation, more respect, more kindness, more understanding, more, more, more.

Let Jesus love you.

It was some time ago that Jesus’ last few words in this passage rang out clearly to me.

Mark 12: 28b-31 –  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.”

We certainly understand the command to love God most. This is the first and greatest command.

However, let’s take a closer look at the second command. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

When we love our neighbor, what does that look like? Some of us are very skilled at “loving our neighbor” and dive in full force making meals, sending texts, reaching out, spending time, money and affection on others.

But what about ourselves?

May we not skip over the power of those last two little words of Jesus’ statement.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“As yourself.”

For those who find it easy to love others, let us reflect on this truth, Jesus is including love for self, in keeping with love for others.

How easily we miss these simple words. Love God first. Then love others, as yourself.

What does “love ourselves” mean from a Christian viewpoint?

Soul-care is different from self-care.

We were created by God, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. We are precious in His sight and have intrinsic value because our lives are a sacred gift from the Creator of all things.

For those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, we are being changed little by little into the image of Christ. Talk about precious!

Self-care is important for Christians, as God has invited us to be stewards over all He has made, including ourselves. Self-care involves eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise and adequate sleep. It means working toward a balanced schedule of work and rest, productivity and leisure, to bring out the best in all God has given us.

Soul-care however, is another matter altogether. We were designed to be in a relationship with God, loving God and letting God love us!

Soul-care is taking the time to love Jesus and letting Jesus love you.

Soul-care begins by pausing to remember.

Remember who made you. You are lovingly made by God.

Remember the God who painted the fiery sunset, who layered the petals on the silken rose, who flung the shining stars in the heavens is the same God who tenderly, purposely, skillfully made YOU!

Remember this same God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins so that you could be together with Him in heaven forever. The Hands that reached down to form your flesh are the Hands that reached out to take the nails. All for love.

Remember how much Jesus loves you! The King of all creation wore a crown of thorns. The Champion of heaven carried the weight of our sins and the weight of the cross for us. The One who made the trees hung on a tree for you and me. No one loves you more.

Remember your God. Then remember who you are in God. Remember what God has done to love you. This is our deepest need, our innermost longing, our great heart-cry. You are loved by God. Let Jesus love you.

An immeasurable God paid an immeasurable price to spend immeasurable time with us. ~Alistair Begg

Let Jesus love you and love Him in return. How? Remember this:

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Genesis 1:27 –  So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Jeremiah 1:5a – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.

1 John 3:16a – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us.

 

Additional Resources:

His Are the Hands – Poem By Melissa McLaughlin

From Clay to Heaven – Be Amazed By Your God! By Melissa McLaughlin

What Does it Mean to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself By Crosswalk.com

The Insanity of Self-Care By DesiringGod.org