‘Another gospel’

Today’s study is another good one – Selwyn draws our attention to the adoption of popular psychology principles into Christian thinking. He starts by giving us the simple principle God has given us. “First we relate to God, then to others, and we ourselves come last. … it is His love for us which causes our hearts to respond in love to Him. Our love for Him is thus the response to His love for us. It is not something manufactured or concocted (by our own will power). … Having been filled with God’s love, we are then able to give ourselves to others with an energy that longs to see the same confidence we have in God grow and develop in them. … Our value as men and women comes from the fact that God lives in us and loves in us, and that we have something useful to give to others. Freely we have received, freely we give.”

As I mentioned yesterday – it is not love, powered by our own human hearts that is the foundation of our love for God and our neighbour. It is the love provided by the Holy Spirit, living within us. It is a gift from God, that is, we cannot manufacturer God’s love by our own efforts.

So, if anyone puts forward the idea that attention should be first focused on loving ourselves so that then we are better able to love God and love others – is not one with the Holy Spirit. The human-powered love used to focus attention on loving ourselves is flawed – it will never produced the desired effect. Again, these ideas are born out of our nature which wants to be independent of God and others, a nature that seeks self-help.

If we sacrifice this independent ‘self’, and enable the Holy Spirit to guide our lives, we will (supernaturally) see that we are acceptable to God by what Jesus did for us; and, we will then be able to truely love and value ourselves, for ‘whose’ we are – the ransom price was paid on the cross!

First, we were chosen by God – then we respond to God’s love with the help of the Holy Spirit – then we can share God’s love with others – then we understand our own worth in terms of Jesus’ blood shed for us. Simple – don’t you agree?