Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday, March 2nd

Self-esteem gets a lot of air play as an essential way to feel good. Make people proud of their accomplishments and give them a sense of self-worth, we’re told, and their outlook on life will improve dramatically.

That’s never worked for me. It misses an important, very biblical, first step – allowing ourselves to be loved. Springtime only enters the winter of our lives once we open the gates to allowing others to love us and then returning that love.

In fact, author Smith in The Lazarus Life tells us – at least twice – “the crucial step in being transformed is learning to let yourself be loved. Skip this step and transformation will not happen” (pg. 73).

He’s right, isn’t he? Until I open myself to God’s love – as scary as that can be sometimes because it’s such a huge, gaping, pulsing heart of love – I cannot be transformed into the image of Jesus. And at the core of that image is love.

In fact John tells us, “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In other words, our ability to love our God and one another is built on our ability to first open ourselves to the agape love that God has for us.

Frankly, it’s this concept that sets Christianity apart from every other religion – ever. That God so loves humankind that he sacrifices his own son so that we can have life with him today and forever. That’s the guts of John 3:16, right? No other religion or faith system professes that kind of love between God and humankind where God reaches out purposefully to initiate that loving relationship. It’s as unique to Christianity as spots are to a leopard.

I love that God loves us so much. Sure improves my self-esteem.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for continually reaching those big, ole’ loving arms around me, even when I don’t realize you’re doing it. Amen.

Ed Klodt

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