Tidbits and Blessings Blog
by Jeanie Malone
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As Christians, we are to be about the Father’s business. I realize that balance is something we struggle with in our modern society because we have layered on so many things our ancestors didn’t have to juggle. But then again, we aren’t hiking to a spring to scrub laundry over a washboard or having to milk the cow before breakfast. Regardless, we have no excuse to misplace our priorities or idolize anything or anyone, including ourselves.
We tell ourselves that we are worthy, that we are enough, that we deserve more. This is part of hell’s campaign to misguide our thinking. We are not worthy, only God is worthy. Our righteousness comes from Christ, not ourselves. We are not enough; we need Christ. And we don’t deserve anything but hell.
Thankfully, we have a loving Father who gives us, by His mercy, absolutely the opposite of what we deserve, and is patient with our progress and attentive to our every need.
Somehow, we have become our own gods. We worship ourselves because society says we should feel like a god/goddess and deserve to be happy. Our focus should be on sharing the love of Christ, sharing the truth that has the power to set people free from the bondage of sin. Yes, bondage of sin. Often as Christians, we let sin creep in and control us and prevent us from living God’s will for our lives.
True Christianity is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, know that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the atonement for our sins and by accepting this by faith we are saved by His grace, and we are to love others as ourselves.
If we truly love ourselves, we want to know the truth. If we love others as we should, we are bound to help them know truth.
The world is going to throw a lot of incorrect thinking your way. It’s your responsibility to be wise in Christ to know what to do with all that comes your way. We have discernment by studying to know God’s Word. If we don’t, we easily get sucked into the world of wasted time and energy spent on the wrong things. If we truly love God, let us seek to know Him through His Word. Let us treasure His Word as the cornerstone it is. Let us build our values and structure our lives and individual days based on a right understanding of God’s Word.
There are a lot of “Christian” teachers and churches out there that don’t teach you to study God’s Word for yourself, but doing so is critical to your faith. Don’t just believe what your pastor says. God’s Word says in 2 Timothy 2:15-16, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
Just a bit further in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 we can see an accurate description of our present society as a whole—not a new phenomenon but one which was around even before Christ: that men are lovers of themselves. But I wonder if in our modern society, as told will be in the last days, the intensity of our self-love and self-absorption has increased in general.
Here’s what Paul warns in his second letter to Timothy about self-love in the last days:
“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, 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. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men” (2 Timothy 3:1-9 ESV).
Every listed descriptor is easily identified in our society and pushed on social media as healthy and good. Though recognizing this can be alarming and even a bit disheartening, we have hope because Jesus gave the antidote to all these sins in His response to the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37 when the lawyer asked how to inherit eternal life. Instead of a direct answer, Jesus asked what the Word/Law said on this.
After responding correctly that we are to love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourself, the lawyer asked Jesus who he should identify as his neighbor. Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan (a half breed Jew generally shunned by Jews) who showed compassion to a man passed by and ignored by a Jewish priest and Levite. If we think about the Samaritan’s actions, we can see that he sacrificed his time, money, and energy and risked ridicule and abuse. He did all this for a total stranger.
If we look after the wellbeing of others and seek to point them to Christ, we will by default be less self-absorbed and will have a healthier, broader perspective outside of ourselves and our own limited comprehension.
Many gurus and even “Christian” leaders teach us to look within ourselves for the answers, that we must know, understand, and deeply love ourselves before we are of any use to others, but Jesus teaches us the opposite of this lie.
I have lived the self-hate. I have lived disgusted and miserable wanting to know and live my purpose. In my darkest season, I considered suicide many times. I did so not truly hating myself but hating my experience. I hated that I was so sick I was not useful to others. I hated that I had to spend my time researching, desperate to improve my health so I could benefit others. I wanted to be serving others in Christ’s name. I wanted to return to my former activities of service where I helped others and gave God the glory for it. I didn’t understand why God would take away this part of my life and replace it with incompetence and isolation. So, in reality I didn’t hate myself; I hated my position and life experience. Obviously, I never committed suicide, and I am so thankful. Each time, I felt the Holy Spirit strengthen me, even if it was only enough strength to be so weak that I was unable to take my life.
Though I still live in sickness and weakness, I am not tormented by feeling thrown away. I don’t understand the pain and suffering but know it is allowed by the God who made me with love and will not let me face one thing outside of His great love and His overarching purpose. I miss the ways I used to serve others in Christ’s name but seek daily how I may best honor and glorify my Lord.
He gives me love for myself enough to preserve and improve my life, so I am the best possible steward of His blessings to me. Even those who go through with suicide do not truly hate themselves, but instead abhor the anguish, confusion, and the tormenting emotions that make them feel separated from God, forgotten, or forsaken.
I recall wanting to end my life because I couldn't figure out how to improve it; that is proof that I had some measure of love for myself because I wanted my life to matter.
We all want our lives to matter. If we didn’t have this desire, no one would ever feel that his or her life didn’t matter. It is desperation, not lack of self-love that is responsible for suicide.
Ultimately, we find the answers and the purpose of life outside ourselves instead of by deep reflection and deeper/higher consciousness. The deeper we dive in ourselves and our psyche, the more confused and deceived we are.
Look to God and His holy Word for your understanding. Love others with self-sacrifice as Jesus taught in the parable of the good Samaritan. That is where you will find contentment, peace, and purpose.
I'm tired of running from God and am trying to learn to run to Him instead.