Watch above/read below
This Week's Teaching: "Falling Out of Love (with yourself)"
I told my wife recently that I'm falling more and more out of love.
We live full time in this RV and we have a travel channel and the nature of that travel channel is that we take video of sometimes candid moments and I get to edit it.
And so I watch myself and I don't like myself. I told her I'm falling more and more out of love with myself all the time.
I don't like how I talk to her. I don't like how condescending I am. I don't like how passive aggressive I am. And these are things that, if I didn't have to look at myself, I wouldn't know it. I would insist that my heart is kind and patient and I would never be passive aggressive with my wife. I would never be condescending and yet when I watch the footage, man, I don't like me. I'm falling more and more out of love with myself all the time.
I'm condescending. I'm a know it all. I am impatient. I'm irritable. I can be angry. I'm fearful and that comes out in anger. I don't like me.
And I can be defensive about it. And that's one of the things I see is that I'm defensive. I could be defensive about this and say, "That's not what I'm like. I'm not like that at all!" But the Lord said "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." And you could say out of the overflow of the heart, the life is. So I can be defensive about it, or I could just say, "Nah, I just learned something about myself, and I don't like that about me."
And so I'm working on it. I'm making it a part of my contemplative moments in the morning. I'm making it a part of my confessions during the day. If I respond to her poorly, I tell her right away, "I'm sorry, that's not who I want to be. I'm sorry." And I name what it is. " I'm sorry I'm irritable." "I'm sorry that sounded so condescending."
I'm falling more and more out of love with myself every day.
Now, when I turn to scripture, it's a lot like looking at that video content. If I allow it to be. If I read scripture and it tells me that I'm a sinner, I can say, "No, I'm not! You should see my heart!" Or I can say, "Ah, yeah, this is the mirror. This tells me the things about myself that I don't yet understand." I can be defensive about it, or I can say, "Okay. Okay. I'll deal with the reality of this."
I wonder how often you open the scripture as a mirror, as video footage of yourself. Not to defend yourself against it; not to sit in judgment on scripture; not to sit in judgment on God for claiming that you are a sinner, that you have erred and that you are still inclined to err. I wonder how often you open up scripture, not to argue with it, but to let it show you you yourself; to let it hold up a mirror for you to see, "Oh, that's why I need Jesus. That's why I need a savior. That's why I need to learn over and over and over again, through and through and through to make this private and public confession that Jesus, you are my Lord. You are my Lord. I am not my Lord. I die to that. Lord, you are my Lord. I live to you."
So I want to ask you, how often do you open up the scriptures to let it sit as a mirror for you?
In 2nd Corinthians 13, Paul writes, " Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves."
And I'm saying use this to test yourself.
In Ephesians, Paul says that " Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and the teachers..."-- and when we open up scripture, we are devoting ourselves to the apostles teaching and the prophecies, and the euangelion: the gospel, the evangel, the evangelists. "Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people and their deceitful scheming." (And we will even name our own deceitful scheming, how we deceive ourselves into doing the things that we've already decided we won't do again.)
And then he says, "So I tell you this, and I insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do," meaning those who don't know the Lord. You must no longer live as those who don't know the Lord " in the futility of their thinking." Don't live like they do. "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over..." Now let this be a mirror for you. "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life that you learned." I'm reminding you, don't live the way you're inclined to live. That's not the new way of life. He says "that, however, is not the way of life that you learned" -- the new way. "... you were taught with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by his deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
See whether this, like myself, where I say I'm just falling more and more out of love with myself every day, meaning I'm learning to love holiness and righteousness and to pursue something that I'm not inclined to be in the flesh.
"Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood..." says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you... Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or of any kind of impurity or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking which are out of place, but rather let there be thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure, no immoral, impure, or greedy person, such a person as an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of God. Let no one deceive you..."
You can read the rest yourself.
I wonder if you've bought into this lie that we're supposed to love ourselves, that we're supposed to learn to more and more love ourselves, that we're supposed to become in love with ourselves? It's a lie. It's a lie. Become more and more in love with Jesus.
Colossians 3: " Set your minds on things above." Set your hearts on Christ. Revere Christ and worship Him. Bow your life in His honor.
Stop looking into the mirror to gaze upon your loveliness. Paul says elsewhere that "those who judge themselves by themselves are not wise." It's foolish. Stop gazing at yourself to reawaken love for yourself. That is not where the strength is, that is where the weakness is.
Rather, stare into scripture. Let it be the mirror that shows you yourself. If you object to it, don't argue with it. Accept it. Accept it.
Are you falling more and more out of love with yourself every day? You should be. And that's not saying you need to walk around mopey and everything. That's saying that, until you learn that this life is not about you, but that your life is all about him, you will continue to live in this self absorbed misery about how much you hate yourself and you just need to learn to love yourself and all that.
But when you die to self, and when you prefer Christ's honor above your own, and when you are quick to confess your failings and your needs, and you are quick to, every day, say, "I'm a sinner, Lord, in need of mercy. Thank you for your mercy." When you learn to do that, then you can live with gratitude that's rooted in reality, not in just what you wish things could be.
I think it's a hard message these days. It used to be the norm. I think it's a hard message these days for people to hear because we have been so inundated with this false teaching that we just need to love ourselves. Love God. Love your neighbor. Do that, and it'll go well with you.
So, more and more out of love with myself every day, and it's good. There is peace there, and there is joy there, and there is a "speaking the truth in love" there. And that's what I do to you today. I hope you receive it. Amen.
Mission Update & Prayers