Triune Love: Love God, Love Yourself, Love Others

The Holy Trinity is one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible. God, three-in-one is often difficult to explain and describe with our limited language.

God identifies with himself through love. You can say that the Spirit is what binds the love of the Father to the Son and the Son to the Father. This is the love that he pours out to his creation.

Love is what binds us to God, his mission, and to each other. The reason that the loving Father is so loving is because of the unique relationship that he has with himself. God knows what it truly means to love himself. This is why Jesus can say that the second greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Self-love is not selfish. Self-love is born out of God’s self-sacrificial love for you. You are very important to him. Paul and the Apostle John both give us a points of reference to the depth of God’s love by taking us back to the cross of Jesus. Jesus considered himself nothing because he considers you valuable.

We are humbled by the cross of Christ. In humility, we pick up our own cross to follow him. We are valuable because of the price he paid for us. Knowing this, we are honored to make ourselves nothing in return.

It’s not that Christ is nothing, he made himself nothing. It’s not that you are nothing, you make yourself nothing. This can only happen when we rest in Jesus’ love.

God wants us to be, before he wants us to do. If we don’t get the first right, then we may begin to love our deeds more than we love God. We will try to earn God’s approval and acceptance through our performance.

In order to rest in God’s love, we need to learn how to love ourselves.

Self-love is self-acceptance. When we learn of the Father’s love and acceptance of us we can learn to accept ourselves as he accepts us. This is an important first step in loving others. Only as we accept ourselves are we free to love others.  You must accept your real authentic self not for who you think others want you to be or some future version of you, but accept who you are, right now.

Self-acceptance is not something we talk ourselves into; neither is it a form of narcissism. The Christian perspective differs profoundly from what is advocated in much popular therapeutic self-help literature. As C. S. Lewis says, “Your real, new self … will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.” Just as the persons of the Trinity find their unique identities by focusing not on themselves but on one another, so Christian self-acceptance comes as we look to God and hear him say, “My child, you are accepted in the Beloved.”(Stephen Seamands, Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service)

Receive the divine embrace of the Triune God. God loves himself and God loves you. This is the foundation of your love for Him (He loves first), your love for self, and your love for others. You can only love yourself well when you know that you are loved well by God. You can only love others well when you begin to love yourself as God loves you.

What is preventing you from loving yourself as God loves you? How is this keeping you from loving others well?

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Jovan preaches for the Littleton Church of Christ near Denver, Colorado. Visit here to listen to sermons preached at the Littleton Church. 

Posted by jovanbarrington