Proverbs 6:23 for the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline
are the way of life.
Mathew 22:37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Proverbs 8:36 but he that sins against Me wrongs his own soul: all they that hate Me love death.
Psalm 19:8 the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
What is the commandment God has given His children? What is it that Jesus came to teach the people? The one thing God wants and requires of you is to love – to love Him, to love yourself and also those around you. God sent His Son die for us, because He loved us when we were still sinners. Jesus willingly laid down His life for us because He loved us. God expects us to love ourselves and others with the same intensity – to be invested and committed in loving ourselves and others unconditionally. The character of Jesus is to love to the point of laying down His life, yet I think He would be pleased if some could merely lay down their opinion.
Sometimes, when we are faced with difficulty, when we are feeling disconnected from people and disappointed with ourselves, we tend to listen to lies the enemy wants us to believe about ourselves. Thoughts of inferiority and insecurity run rampant. Sometimes, we become disconnected from people because of being mistreated and unappreciated, misunderstood and misinterpreted. Disconnection breeds insecurity. There is no way being at odds with someone encourages security or affection. Sometimes we fail at something we set out to accomplish and find our minds bombarded with would’ve, should’ve, could’ve, causing a tangle of negative thoughts and self-loathing emotions in our hearts. In these situations it becomes severely difficult to maintain a positive perspective and keep on loving people and ourselves. We tend to want to buy into the opinion of others, allowing the degrading and condescending words of others, and our own, to ‘humble’ us. All of this serves only to disconnect us from the heart of the Father. The only effect these thoughts and feelings have in our heart is not humbling us but sowing doubt in our minds. When we entertain these thoughts they grow and spread. Where you start out disappointed, you end up depressed and discouraged. It is not humility to degrade your value and your self-worth. It is not admirable to beat yourself up about what you did wrong or insufficiently. We don’t want to believe good about ourselves for fear of being presumptuous. But this only leads us to giving up and being despondent.
When God tells us to obey the commandment to love ourselves and those around us, He is giving us a way to have a life of peace and joy in our hearts. It is in following the law He set out for us that our souls begin to prosper. This is not a law of refraining from certain foods or observing certain traditions, this is not a law of DO NOT’S, but a law of doing and being; the law of love. Only loving people and ourselves unconditionally will allow peace to reign. God has pointed out in His word that when we sin, when we do not obey His law of loving ourselves and others, it is then that our souls become troubled. We suffer because we fail to recognize the true identity in people. We become disconcerted with them because of unmet expectations, because of a standard we hold people to. When people fail to meet our demands and standards we write them off as inferior and think them uncaring. We easily adopt the mind set of someone cheated. So many times I have determined that I would remove myself from someone’s company because they just wouldn’t see things the way I did. I never paused – even for a moment – to hear and value their opinion. We do not have to agree with one another in order to love and respect one another. When we allow fear or pride to govern our thoughts we find ourselves questioning our value and disregarding the value of others. The only way we can overcome the negative thoughts we have about ourselves and those around us is to take hold those thoughts and submit them to the will of God. We need to measure our ideas and opinions of people against the truth of His word. For this to be possible we need to know what God is feeling and saying about the person and we need to understand that His heart is patient and understanding.
This is where disciplining our minds takes priority. It takes discipline to walk in the way of life. We have a commandment from God to love, and it is only with discipline that we fulfill this law. We need to train our minds to think well. It takes discipline to think the right thoughts, to believe the good things God is saying about us and others. We cannot have faith without the discipline it takes to think right and believe, to maintain thought patterns that are positive and optimistic about us and our futures. Keeping his commandment is what enlightens our eyes to the truth about ourselves and others, to be able to know how much He loves His people and how much He values each one of us. Discipline in our thought life will lead us to be humble and consistently mindful of His goodness and guidance. It is what helps us not be boastful, proud and vain, ensuring humility. Discipline is what helps us achieve and maintain peace because of a heart responsive to His heart, and God’s heart for us is to be strengthened in our minds, sustained by good thoughts. God wants His children to be resilient, to be able to resist the lies of the enemy, to be able to renew our minds to allow our thoughts to align with his heart for us. Again, the one thing he requires from us is to love and love requires you to be positive about God, yourself and those around you. He wants you to rest in Him, to find your confidence and strength in the quiet – not in uttering your opinion and influencing people to yield to your opinions. He longs for us to love them whether they change or agree with us or not. To be patient, kind, not boastful, forgiving and relentlessly optimistic is to have a mind disciplined in the ways of truth.
Isaiah 30:15 For thus said the Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. And ye would not