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And Love Me!

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Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-38, NIV). 

Friend to Friend

I love being a grandmother. I absolutely adore our three grandchildren and work hard at finding any and every excuse to spend time with them. The games I played with their parents, I now play with them. I read many of the same stories that I read to their parents and have come up with new renditions of old songs I once sang as a young mother. I am convinced that my grandchildren keep me young. I am also convinced that they are some of my greatest and most profound teachers. Maybe that is because they are so “fresh” from Heaven and the presence of God. Whatever the reason, when I spend time with them, I always come away with new truth.

I recently visited our son and daughter-in-law in Charlotte, North Carolina because two of our three grandchildren live with them. They are twins. As you can imagine, life is anything but dull as Jered and Jodi try to keep up with three-year-old Lelia and Jaydan. It seems like the twins do or say something new every day and I can now testify to the fact that are learning to talk … a lot! They are also learning how to pray.

As we sat down at the dinner table one night, I watched Lelia and Jaydan bow their heads and begin to sing the blessing. It was one of those life moments I will never forget. But there was more. When the song was finished, Jered prayed, “Thank You, God, for our food and our home. Thank You for Mommy, Daddy, Lelia, Jaydan and for Mimi.” I waited for the usual “amen” but instead, heard two sweet voices offer their own thanks. Lelia ended their prayer time by pointing to each person seated at the table and declaring, “I love Mommy and Daddy. I love JayJay. I love Mimi.” Then came the “amen” from daddy. However, Lelia was not done. With sparkling eyes and a smile that would melt any heart, she pointed to herself and said, “And I love me!”

And there you have the three-year-old translation of the two most important commandments Jesus ever gave. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV).

Jesus is responding to a question he was asked by an interpreter of the law. I suspect the motive behind the question was far from pure, but Jesus responded with pure truth when He said that the love of God is the “first and greatest commandment.” In other words, our love of God must not only be not sincere but radical. If we love God, we sell out to Him and will naturally serve Him by loving and serving others. Too often, we stop right there and never get to the second most important commandment. Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Yes, there is a self-love that is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins we can possibly commit. That kind of self-love must die. However, Jesus teaches that we are to love ourselves enough to take care of and be concerned with the welfare of our own bodies and souls. Our body houses the Holy Spirit. Our soul is eternal. We are responsible for the care of both. And we must love our neighbor as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves. That kind of love often asks us to deny ourselves for the good of others because people could care less how much we know, until they know how much we care. Our choice to obey these two commandments will mold our heart and life into something beautiful that honors and pleases God.

The psalmist writes, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14). You can judge the value and the worth of a product by looking at the one who made it. You are no accident. You were created by God – for God – and even if you were never wanted or planned by human heart and mind, you were planned and wanted by God. So, love your neighbor and while you are at it, love yourself.

Let’s Pray

Father, I celebrate the fact that You created me. You planned my life and chose me to be Your daughter because You love me. Help me to love others, God, and then help me to see and love myself through Your eyes.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read the following verses of Scripture and answer the questions listed below.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

  • How does this verse of Scripture emphasize the fact that you and I were created in response to God’s plan, not as an afterthought or as an accident?

Psalm 8:3-5 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

  • How do these verses line up with the way you see yourself right now? What one immediate change do you need to make in order to see yourself the way God sees you?

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

  • Are you living a life plan that gives you hope and a future? Is it the right plan?

Read and memorize Isaiah 43:4 and make it one of your life verses. “You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.”

More from the Girlfriends

Learning to see ourselves through the eyes of God – no more and no less – is fundamental to a life of power and victory. The enemy would love for us to think that we are worthless and of little or no value to God. Do not buy his lies! You are loved and wanted by God, friend. Now live like it!

Need help? Check out these resources that will help you discover your worth and value to God:

Getting Good at Being You (CD)

How to Get Past Your Past (CD)

In His Eyes (MP3)

Join women from across the world in Mary’s Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. When I Am Afraid is the current series and will help you discover how to face and deal with the fear in your life.

Need a friend? Connect with me on Facebook or through email. I love hearing what God is doing in your life! Tell me how praising God has made a difference in your life. Let’s talk about it, girlfriend!

Are you ready to begin a new faith adventure? Get a copy of our new Girlfriends in God book, Trusting God

12 Responses

  1. Rebekah says:

    How easy to forget and how critical to remember! Thank you for this reminder this morning.

  2. Eva Jacks says:

    I have ask for the devonal to be sent to my website.For some reason it never comes. Please send,Thank you Eva

  3. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for your words! I so needed to take the time to read this today…Glad I did!! God Bless you..

  4. […] read an awesome devotion today by Mary Southerland on Matthew 22: 37-38. Mrs. Southerland summed it amazingly with the following statement: “Jesus […]

  5. Christine says:

    I read girfriends every day ,sometime twice per day .
    It has help me to build my faith and bring me closer to God .Thank you so much.

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