But I Can’t Even Love Myself!

Do you love yourself? How about other people? God?

Do you even know how to love? What is love, after all?

In the list of the Fruit of the Spirit, love is the first one listed. Ever wonder why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because all the other fruit depend on it being present.  Or maybe it’s the most important. Consider the Source.

When Jesus answered the scribe who asked him what commandment is most important, His answer was based on love. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength . . . and the second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The scribe approved and declared that this kind of love is better than all burnt offerings and sacrifices (Mark 12:30-32).cross in hands

How do we live in this kind of love? Only through God. In ourselves, we don’t have the ability to love like He does and like Jesus illustrated above. Most of us live in the opposite of love, which is not hate, but lust. The original meaning of lust is not sexual, as our society defines it. It is simply wanting and working for the best for ourselves and using others to get it. Love is wanting and working for the best for others. That’s the God kind of love. That’s agape.        

Notice the second command is to love your neighbor like you love yourself. Do you love yourself? You may have heard it’s selfish to love yourself, but God loves you. His love is for everyone, but also for you as an individual. He knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you beyond measure.

Hard to understand, isn’t it? He doesn’t just love, He actually IS love. Realizing the depth of His love for us helps us love ourselves appropriately. The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us. Some older translations omit “Him”, but it doesn’t change the meaning. We can’t truly love Him, ourselves, or anyone else without His love in us.

God’s love even enables us to love the unlovable. That’s a hard one for us. But if you ask God to let you see someone through His eyes, and to love him through you, it’s easier.

man ready to fight


Then you can see through the outer stuff – the fronts, the bluster, the shyness – and into the heart.




I’m sure you’ve heard I Corinthians 13 quoted many times. It’s a favorite for weddings. You may also have become depressed when you realized your love didn’t add up. It never will, not if you depend on yourself and your emotions. Love is not primarily a feeling. It’s an action. A choice.

It’s also a gift. First you must receive it from its Source. Not until then you can willingly and fearlessly give it both to yourself and others.

Then you will see great benefit from letting that fruit of the Spirit grow.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)


part 3 of an 11 part series on the fruit of the spirit

Next time: Joy

Part 1| Fruit-Tastic!

Part 2| How Does Your Garden Grow?

Part 4| Put on a Happy Face?


Illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net