Even More on Flylady and Finally Loving Yourself

Okay, so I started wondering if my hesitation to love myself (as explored yesterday), might have some of its roots in a misunderstanding of the definition of love. So, I did a little investigation of the word “love” used in the “love your neighbor as yourself” verses I referenced yesterday. And I kept in mind the application of loving oneself the whole time.

Of course, everyone knows that the “love” in these verses is “agapao” (it’s a verb, obviously). When I went to Strong’s Concordance online, The Blue Letter Bible Lexicon gave me this “outline of Biblical usage” of agapao:

1) of persons

a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

2) of things

a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

Thayer’s Lexicon says it means “to love, to be full of good-will and exhibit the same” and “to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare” of a person. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says this about agapao:

Agape and agapao are used in the NT
(a) to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, John 17:26; the human race, generally, John 3:16; Rom 5:8; and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly, John 14:21;
(b) to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, John 13:34, and toward all men, 1 Thess 3:12; 1 Cor 16:14; 2 Pet 1:7;
(c) to express the essential nature of God, 1 John 4:8.

(I note that there is no reference to agapao being used to convey God’s will to His children concerning their attitude toward themselves.)

Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9,10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Rom 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cp. Deut 7:7,8.

(Hmm…love can be known only from the actions it prompts. What are my actions toward myself? And love is not drawn out by any excellency in its objects. So, I don’t have to be perfect to love myself?!)

Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:14; Eph 2:4; Eph 3:19; Eph 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian, Gal 5:22.

(Jesus loves me. If He loves me, what possible excuse could I have for not loving myself?)

Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, John 14:15,21,23; John 15:10; 1 John 2:5; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

(Aha! See, here we go. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God. So…have I somehow mistakenly equated loving myself with being self-pleasing?)

Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, Rom 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Gal 6:10. See further 1 Cor 13 and Col 3:12-14.” [ From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 105.]

(Once, again, there is no mention of love being exercised toward self, but toward God and others. Is that never mentioned because it is assumed that people automatically love themselves? Yet, when agapao is used in the context of the sentence “love your neighbor as yourself,” Scripture seems to be saying, “because you do love yourself with this agape love, love your neighbor the same way.” Does that mean that there is an assumption that man automatically loves himself with this “good” and “right” and not-necessarily-selfish kind of love?)

In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential “love” in them towards the Giver, and a practical “love” towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. See BELOVED.

(Once, again, if I am deeply and constantly loved by my holy God, being entirely unworthy, how can I ever hesitate to love myself?)

Well, now I try to sort out what this means, practically, in my life. It seems to me that if the Bible repeatedly says to “love my neighbor as myself,” there is an assumption that I am loving myself with the agape love. Do I welcome, entertain, be fond of and love dearly myself? Do I love, be full of good-will and exhibit the same and have a preference for and wish well to and regard the welfare of myself? Do my actions show that I love myself?

I think the answers to that vary. Yes, in many ways, I show love of myself. I take care of myself physically by exercising faithfully and eating healthily. I do not, nor have I ever, used any harmful substance. I take care of myself spiritually by feeding on the Word every day. But, (AHA!!), I think I just realized the area of my life in which I might not show myself enough love. I think I could be showing myself a little more love by taking care of myself emotionally.

And taking care of myself emotionally is definitely related to my Flylady routine. I make time in my Flylady routine to exercise and prepare healthy food for myself and read the Bible, but I don’t necessarily make sure that I have time to do things that build me up emotionally. Things like being creative every day or reading or just being quiet and having time to think.

Hmm…lots to cogitate on and pray about. I’m grateful I’ve had the time to think this through. And, hopefully, apply what God has shown me about loving myself.



One Response to “Even More on Flylady and Finally Loving Yourself”

  1. Where Do I Begin? « Abiding in the True Vine Says:

    […] year, I had time (and, at this hotel, FREE internet access) to come up with THIS POST. And THIS ONE. So, I had hopes that I might have the opportunity to sort out some of the multitudinous thoughts […]

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