...the churches of Christ salute you! Rom 16:16

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Too Much Self

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A baby is not born evil. The "self-centeredness" that is inherent in a baby is necessary for its survival—it is inborn, but not an evil thing as Calvinists teach. Some measure of concern for self prompts care of self. In the case of the baby, it cries out for attention be­cause it cannot tend to its own needs.
Regulated and controlled, Jesus taught that we must have a concern for self. He said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself (Luke 10:27). This is not selfish or unduly self-serving, but necessary. Jesus is saying, as we look out for our own health and welfare, just so we should do the same for our neighbor.
Controlled, a right measure of self-love provides a foundation for love of others. This is especially true in mar­riage because husband and wife are one flesh. To love one's spouse is to love one's self. Because we are one, yes, but also because of the reciprocation genuine love generates. What we give, in time, we receive. Many couples do not realize the inherent blessing of truly loving a spouse.
This principle is at least equally true, if not more so, in our relationship with Christ, especially in worship. Although we personally find pleasure in scriptural worship, more importantly, we are pleased that God is pleased. Our wor­ship, though directed to Him, is essen­tially the same as loving ourselves be­cause it so beneficial to our own spirit. Even while giving we are receiving. When worship comes from our heart, we "get something out of worship." It does not depend on the singing or the preaching. It depends on us.
The problem with self-love is that, without God in our lives, an individual's innate self-centeredness or self-care can easily develop into egotism-sometimes an extreme and sinful selfishness, repul­sive to all but the one who has the "dis­ease." An egotist gives little Christian thought to loving others as a way of life, and often shows little care for oth­ers. He cannot be expected to look for ways to serve others. Thus, without God, life becomes all about self in a bad way. This is the awful wrong that can grow out of unreasonable love for self.
The point is, Jesus knew the essen­tiality of loving one's self in view of self preservation and normal respect and care for our physical and emotional well-being. He spoke of it in abstract commendation, and even used it as the foundation pillar of our blight to oth­ers—"love thv neighbor as thyself." But loving self can be a great blight if turned inwardly, growing to selfishness. We owe a great debt to our neighbor.


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