He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
- Proverbs 19:8
The Lord tells us we need to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).
Our key scripture shows us how to love ourselves.
Those who get (seek and find) wisdom love their own souls. They nurture themselves in wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 states, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Therefore, they who love themselves aim for the highest ideal, the principal thing, the one thing that lights the path for the things that follow, such as knowledge and understanding. When we seek and apprehend the wisdom of the Lord, we adorn ourselves with garments of beauty and honour; but not before a lot of internal wrestling goes on. In our minds, loving ourselves seems to go against the grain of our teachings on humility. We are called to love ourselves and yet at the same time put on the humility of Christ. This seeming dichotomy doesn't create a dilemma so much as an exciting pathway. We can and must have both humility and a great love for ourselves working in our lives; so let's see where it fits in. When we put on humility ( and that takes years and many challenges to our old nature of self-promotion), we create a better place in our heart for wisdom to abide. The Holy Spirit, like water, takes the path of least resistance, so the less we become, the greater we become.
The other side of our job of growing in Christ is to develop ourselves in knowledge ( theory) and understanding (how the knowledge works in real life). Wisdom shows us how to use it all in our building! Loving ourselves is more about cherishing the information and building ourselves up in the most holy faith (Jude 1:20). It pleases God when He sees us developing. He loves it. When we chase wisdom, we subconsciously love ourselves and feel the power and blessings of God. I recall a line from the movie, Chariots of Fire when Ian Liddell was explaining to his family why he needed to run in the Olympics before going to China as a missionary.
He said, "when I run, I feel His pleasure." He was talking about his strong urge to develop and use his gift of speed that the Lord had given him. He loved himself in the sense of having the confidence in Christ to develop himself, and trained like all the rest of the olympians. Likewise, when we chase wisdom, we feel His pleasure, and we love it. In this form of spiritual development, we love ourselves. The Greek word, Ego, means 'I Am'. We are the opposite, with a desire of one day reigning with Christ. To do that, we must fall in love with the development of our own souls, not as I Am, but as I Am Following Him. in Proverbs 5:1-2, we see wisdom speaking to her son. "My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge." In James 3;2, we read the result of that development. "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." We also see some apt advice in Part B of our key verse (I have paraphrased it), "he that keepeth understanding (seeks it, finds it, and implements the knowledge) shall find good ( in their lives).
In life we seek many things that allude us. Here, the Lord says, we shall find (discover and apprehend) good, or goodness. This is an excellent achievement and worthy of all pursuit.
Today’’s Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for having a principal thing for us to chase and apprehend. It puts life in perspective, and helps me know where to always begin. Please help me balance the love I need for myself, especially when I don’t feel worthy. In those times, please lift me up again and help me reset my goals to where they should be aiming.