My heart is waking up to a deeper longing to “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” and it’s a shocker! The “fullness of God” doesn’t allow me room for self-love. I’m learning that self-love and neighbor-love can’t coexist. Jesus put it this way: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.”
To love is to lose yourself through focusing on showing compassion, caring, and kindness to other people. Jesus quoted Leviticus 19:18; “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That verse doesn’t say to love your neighbor “along with yourself.” It says, “as” yourself. I believe it means “as a replacement for yourself.”
Because my will and my neighbor’s will are never perfectly aligned, my self-love becomes a hindrance to neighbor-love, and I have to choose between the two. Loving myself distracts me from loving my neighbor. The only way to truly love my neighbor as myself is to love my neighbor instead of myself–to shift the love and focus I have for myself to my neighbor. Self-love puts self ahead of neighbors. Since neighbor-love puts neighbors ahead of self it calls for intentional self-denial.
Turn your attention away from self-love and focus on neighbor-love. As Paul put it: “Consider others better than yourself.” Jesus showed us how to “love your neighbor as yourself” when He denied Himself, prayed “not My will, but Yours be done,” and then freely surrendered His life to die for others.