To be honest, I am no expert on loving myself. I know for me it has been a lifelong journey on how to love myself better. In my research and quandary, I always come to the same conclusion; love God. This week we will be focusing on how to love ourselves as creatures created by our Father, and how that is enough, how it is satisfying.
I’m going to talk a little bit about something in The Bible that we probably all at one point or another have thought is pretty awkward; circumcision. We can talk about something else first to ease into it.
During the past few months in youth group, we’ve been discussing the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I was impressed by the students who upon hearing the subject were easily able to recite said fruits from memory. Meanwhile, I had never really looked much into the topic. Even though I was easily able to recognize that these very all very obviously great qualities, I didn’t really get why so much focus was being put onto them.
Have you ever read the rest of Galatians 5, where the fruit of the Spirit comes from? Well, just so you know, about the fourth sentence in there talks about circumcision. Again, we can wait on that, for now let’s talk about the fruit. I really appreciate how in these verses and through much of Scripture, metaphors are presented in terms of nature, and I think that was on purpose. Those who wrote the Word down could have written in metaphor pertinent only to that time, but instead wrote in a way that is still relevant to us today.
Consider fruit, for instance. Consider the apple of the tree. The tree acts as a foundation, and its branches bring forth fruit. The apple makes no attempt to be an apple, it just is, the apple trusts that the tree on which it relies which lead it to be a full and whole apple.
Think again, then, to the fruits of the Spirit. The point is, they are fruit of the Spirit. It is not fruits that make the Spirit. We can try as hard as we can to be more loving, more patient, more kind on our own accord, but I think maybe where that’s we get stuck.
Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Through the metaphor of the fruits of the Spirit, God isn’t asking us to try to be that list of virtues, He is asking us to be of the Spirit. He is asking us to be as we were created to be.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me You can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Our God is the perfect gardener. He prunes and cares for us in such a perfect way, that we can do nothing else but remain in Him to better ourselves. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) That’s all I really had to say about circumcision. The point of it all is, there is nothing we can do as humans to make ourselves our best and most lovable selves. All we can do is engross ourselves in the Spirit and the fruit will grow forth. The love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will become natural, if we return to our nature of loving God.
Tuesday Talk it Out
Meet with the people you love the most and look at them as beautiful creations of God. Tell them the reasons why you love them, and don’t forget to mention one of the reasons being because God made them exactly as they are.
Look back into the years of your life. Instead of looking at moments with regret, look for moments where you can celebrate yourself. You are invited to look especially into those moments that you often meet with regret and find reasons to celebrate them.
Think of the reasons you have been told this week that you are lovable. Think of the moments in your life that have made you strong and lovely. Think of who you are today and why you absolutely deserve to be loved. Think of the wonderful ways in which our God loves you and those around you.
Friday Live it Out
Do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it. Do something nice for someone else. They deserve it too.
Look over your studies and conversations from this past week. What has been the most meaningful thing you’ve learned? What have you learned about yourself? What has this meant for your relationship with God?