I have a confession to make. I haven’t told anyone else this, so I hope you’ll keep this between you and me. Well, here it is: I’m an addict.
It’s true. Those who know me would hardly have guessed it. Those who really know me probably already know. I keep my addiction secret so that no one will know. After all, I have to put up a front to be well liked and respected, right? Well, Scripture talks about boasting about your weaknesses and living in the light. So, I confess my addiction to you now. The truth is, I’m addicted to myself. “Oh, is that all?” you might say. “At least you’re not addicted to alcohol, drugs, or pornography or things like that.” Well, truthfully, this is a pretty big thing, even bigger than those other substances or activities. And why is that? Because all other addictions stem from the addiction to self. Scripture talks about this as “love of self.” Where there is love of self, you will lose.
If we are to be honest with ourselves, all of us love ourselves. We eat what we want, we’ll try not to do things we don’t want to do and do things we want to do. We think of ourselves constantly. Even those who are depressed and “hate themselves” spend so much time thinking about themselves, how they have failed or what others have said and done to them, that their time thinking about themselves demonstrate that they actually love themselves! This love for ourselves is rooted in our sinful nature that we had inherited from our parents…and their parents, etc… all the way back to Adam and Eve.
God, who is Love, knew of this self-directed love, and throughout Scriptures He tries to redirect our love towards God and others. Why is this? Because when our love is turned inward, we end up being miserable and we lose. However, when we, who are created by Love, choose to follow our purpose to love (loving God & neighbor), we end up being more satisfied in life…and more satisfied in Him.
Jesus said that if you save your life (self-love), you will lose it. But if you give up your life (self-sacrifice for God and others), you will save it. We cannot do this alone. It is only in the power of Christ and trusting in Him that we can go from self-love to real love (love for God and neighbor). Take a look inside…Why do you do the things you do? Is it for self? or is it for God and others? If it’s for God and others, you will not mind when others do not respond in kindness or are ungrateful. If it’s for yourself, you will find disappointment and anger if you are not recognized or treated well after your kind word or deed. So let’s get real with ourselves and our hearts…and choose to love, after all, it is the most excellent way (I Cor 13).