Because I was sexually abused by my father throughout my childhood, I believed I was damaged goods and could only have a second-class life. I was so insecure and thought no one could really love me or accept me. I believed my worth was based on what I did; the only time I felt good about myself was when I worked hard and was productive.
But as I became serious about my relationship with God and began studying His Word more diligently, I discovered that my past didn't have to determine who I am or what my future would be like. Learning about God's love for me and who I am in Christ changed everything.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, "'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.'" And John 10:10 says Jesus came that we "may have life, and have it to the full."
If you have a poor self-image, you won't be able to fulfill God's plans or enjoy your life because we can't live with His peace and know our true value to Him if we are insecure and have a low opinion of ourselves.
Discovering who we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) is the key to becoming who God created us to be and making a difference in this world. And we realize that the less we think about ourselves, the happier we will be.
Die to Self and Find a Life Worth Living
I remember when God dealt with me about my selfish, self-centered, "What about me?!" attitude. He spoke to my heart one day and said, "You're selfish. You've studied My Word about spiritual warfare, healing, having power and authority as a believer in Christ ... but how much time have you studied about My love?"
It made me realize I would never be happy and have peace until I learned to love like Jesus loves.
When we know and experience God's love, we can share it with others. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone who calls themselves a Christian would really love each other with His love. Think about it: There would be no gossip, no judgment or criticism, no exclusive attitudes that make others feel rejected, and people's needs would be met much more than they are.
The truth is serving others is God's ultimate plan for our lives. And Jesus gave us very real, practical examples of how to love others like He loves us by serving them.
Loving Others "to the Highest Degree"
John 13:1b says Jesus "loved them ... to the highest degree" (AMPC). In the following verses, He demonstrates what it means to love others like this.
In those days, there were servants who washed people's feet when they came to visit. It's likely they were considered the lowliest servants in the household. Now Jesus, the Son of God Himself, got up from supper, took the servant's towel and proceeded to wash the disciples' feet. His message to them was to love one another by being a servant because God wants His love to flow through us and touch other people's lives.
Love is not just a feeling or a theory; it's a decision we make and an action we take. It's so important for us to study what the Bible teaches about God's love so we can learn to love like Jesus—to be a servant who "washes feet" by helping others.
Loving Others Like Jesus Loves
Matthew 7:12a (NIV) says, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." Showing God's love means investing in the lives of others by giving them support, encouraging them and helping to meet their needs as we're able to do so.
It's easy to want to help people you like or those you want to impress, but when it comes to doing something for someone you don't know or even your family, it can be a different story. We have to realize we're naturally selfish, and we must make a conscious decision to think of others on purpose, or we'll miss many opportunities to serve them.
I want to encourage you to read John 13 and pay close attention to what Jesus did and what He said. Spend some time studying Scriptures about God's love, and pray for Him to show you ways you can serve the people in your life. You'll probably find it's easier and simpler than you thought it would be to help make someone's life better.
God wants us to enjoy our lives, and the key is to die to self, get over being the center of our world and focus on helping someone every day. When you do this, you'll discover you're actually more secure, content, peaceful and happy than you've ever been in your life!
Please note: The views and opinions expressed throughout this publication and/or website are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Joyce Meyer Ministries.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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