The Greatest Love and Self-image
The Greek language had three words for "Love" First there was "eros," from which we get "erotic.. This was, of course a purely selfish love. Then there was "Phileo" (Philadelphia), or "brotherly love" This is the love of one family member for another. But the Bible added a new one--"agape" "Agape is a giving love, entirely unselfish.
By way of both illustration and practical application, let me quote the following note from Mary Ellen Grisham, publisher of "Eternal Link:"
After counseling young couples for years, a minister I know suggested that "love is what you do." Young couples frequently have adjustments to make to the differences in romantic courtship and the realities of day-to-day living with the rigorous requirements of work, children, house and yard keeping, and all the many tasks required to maintain a good home and marriage.
Young wives in particular, experiencing the stress of many new responsibilities, worried that their feelings for their husbands were not always so tender and romantic as they had been during dating. Even with a basis of sincere love, rushed schedules and economic necessities dimmed the glamour of marriage.
With the advice that "love is what you do," the women could concentrate less on romantic feelings and more on positive doing--showing their love in practical and effective ways. The active elements of good will and faith helped the marriages to retain the "zip and spice" of a well-balanced interaction in the homes--what old-time couples used to call "give and take."
That selfless love called agape that causes each of us to focus on the needs of others with no thought of return for ourselves is a high ideal of Christian love. While it takes all kinds of love and loving to make a good home and marriage, the common element of "what you do" runs through all the forms that love takes. From romantic love to brotherly and family love, the outer evidence shows in "what you do."
This last Greek word, agape, is the word used to describe the love God has for us. As the song' "The Love of God" says:
O love of God, how rich, how pure,
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels' song
And were with ink the oceans filled
And were the skies of parchment made
And every blade of grass a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love
of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.
We are of great value both because of our creation and also because of the price paid for our redemption. There is an old story which illustrates this perfectly.
A Young boy made a beautiful toy sailboat and took it to a lake to sail, but a gust of wind blew the boat out into the lake. The boat was lost. Several weeks later, the boy saw his sailboat in the window of a toy store. When he asked for his boat, the store owner said, "I own the sailboat now. If you want it you will have to buy it back."
The boy sold all he had to buy back his boat. After paying the store owner, the boy took his boat to his heart and said, "Little boat, you are twice mine, I made you, and now I brought you." Like that little boat, we are twice the Lord's - He made us, and Christ bought us back by paying the price for our sin with his own blood. It is the desire of my heart that you would know how great God's love is for you, and that you would receive His unspeakable gift by asking Him to be your Savior and Lord.
The Bible says in Romans 5:8 that "God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." And in John 3:16, Jesus says "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes on Him might not perish but have everlasting life." That's life which begins here and now, and is also what He referred to in the 10th chapter of John as "life more abundant." Once we accept God's great gift of salvation through His Son, He accepts us and we become His dear children (John 1:12). That should do something for the old self image. Think of it--to be a son of the Most High God. And this is where the road to real success begins. (To find out more, write me at:firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "life" in the subject.)
But it doesn't mean that our self image will then automatically be right or that non-Christians cannot have a decent self-image. Other steps in developing a proper self image are as follows:
2) Understand the source of your self-image The image you have today exists because of the experiences of the past. The experiences of the past have not made you the way you are, but have made you believe you are the way you are and it is the believing that made you indeed the way you are. (By 14 years old most of us have a well developed sense of inferiority.
3) Believe your self image can be changed. You are not locked in.
4) Decide what kind of person you want to be and write it down. Here are 3 ways to decide:
a)Observe and emulate the characteristics of people
you admire. Observe and avoid characteristics that
are not attractive to you.
b)Look at the virtues of great people of the past
and make those characteristics part of your life.
c)Study the life of Jesus. How did He react in
certain situations? What was His attitude?
5)Write out a description of the kind of person you want to be in present positive statements.
6)Invest time with the person you want to be every day. (Read the description over and over again.)a
7)Be patient with yourself. (You did not become like you are overnight.)
By following these 7 steps we should begin to see a steady improvement in our self image.
Article written by James M. Becher, Bible teacher, author of "OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM, A Novel of Biblical Times," (http://www.publishedauthors.net/jamesmbecher/index.html), and publisher of the bi-weekly Ezine, "Inspirational Success Tips" (mailto:inspirationalsuccesstips@Freeautobot.com)
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