Are you having difficulty receiving love or even loving yourself? Perhaps, all the above. Maybe you’re fine in that department, but you know some others who aren’t so fine. Let’s talk about some reasons to receive love from God and people. Even go so far as to discuss the importance of loving yourself. It may surprise you how much love affects your walk of faith.
God’s love is The Standard, there’s none greater than His. That is where we must begin. We know God is love and we are created in His image (see 1 John 4:8; Genesis 1:26-27).
That means we were designed with the unique capacity to love; in fact, if we fail to give and receive love, we are incomplete.
In order to be effective in loving God and others well, we need God’s love to be active in us. Why do you suppose love is the first on the list of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23? Incidentally, “fruit” is in the singular form, which means love is not an option, neither are any of the other things listed. In order to fully be in the image of God, we need His nature living in us. Since we are hard wired to love, when love is absent, we become dysfunctional. Even neural scientists have found this to be true. Your mind requires love in order to be renewed and for your brain to function correctly. Interestingly, hatred and fear are not innate, which means they must be learned. We were not created to hate, nor to be fearful. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity (“fear” –KJV), but of power and love and discipline (“sound mind” –KJV). If you don’t receive love, you will not be in your right mind. That means your thought process will be faulty.
Without love, acts of faith will be performance based.
Love works by love, and faith apart from it does not profit us (see Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). If you lack love, you will tend to seek affirmation through the things you do (i.e., “earn love”). Some confuse identity with such things as professions, what they’re skilled in; or in terms of being a Christian, their gifts. More specifically in this context, being “person of faith.” For them, they will always have to perform “acts of faith” in order to feel any value. Performance based faith is not faith; it is dead works. Faith works relationally, since it works by love. If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (see Romans 10:17), how then, can one hear without a relationship with Him? In a number of cases, people act on something they consider faith. “I’m stepping out on faith.” If there is no word from God, they’re stepping out on presumption. Yes, many acts of faith are recorded in the Bible, but there still needs to be an unction from the Lord in order for someone to follow any of the examples. Jesus did what He saw the Father do and said what He heard Him say, because He loves the Father. Every act of faith was based upon a loving relationship.
If you don’t identify with being a well-loved child of God, there’s a good chance you will identify with being a servant. Is being a servant a bad thing? Not in itself, but consider this: servants look for the reward. While it is true our Father does reward us, as a faithful son or daughter, we do things out of love. Would it be better to serve God out of love instead of the desire for a reward? Servants serve out a different perspective than children of God.
Those who fail to receive His love tend to test His love.
Not only will they try to earn it, they test its legitimacy. That means if God doesn’t perform up to their expectation, He fails the test. Unfortunately for them, God fails every time because it’s a setup. Even though God never fails, in their mind, He does. Because they don’t believe He loves them, their hypothesis will be “proven correct,” one or the other. God has already been pronounced guilty before the trial ever begins. Rebellion crops up out of the same idea. Much like small children who act up in order to see if mommy or daddy really loves them. If a person seeks affirmation by faith, he’s seeking the glory, instead of giving it to God. They’re not walking in love.
Refusing love may be an act of pride. Some take pride in rejection.
They’re actually saying their “unworthiness” is greater than God’s love, and it surpassed the worthiness of Jesus Christ. Rejecting love isolates. Those in isolation for long periods of time have been known to think irrationally. In short, rejecting love leads to poor mental health.
Those who don’t love themselves often become needy. While on one side of the coin, some isolate themselves, these go to the extreme opposite. Of that number, some always have a crisis that requires someone to come to their rescue. They subconsciously sabotage themselves in order to rely on others. One of the few ways some feel loved is when others minister to them. Of course, ministry is an act of love, but they depend on it as part of their affirmation.
Conversely, others minister in order to feel valuable. If a person loves himself as God does, the neediness goes away. In so doing, he actually honors Him Who created him. Here’s the deal: if you think you’re a piece of trash, you insult your Maker. He is good, and only creates good things. That includes you. Please note, this is not talking about people being good apart from Jesus Christ in relation to sin and so on. In short, you are wonderful and amazing because He is all that and more! The enemy of your soul has been lying to you about your identity. Don’t believe him, or the world for that matter.
Your thoughts about yourself should coincide with God’s thoughts about you. It might be a good idea to read what He says about you in the Bible.
Psalm 139:13-18For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.