In many ways my pre-baby days were determined by how the first hour of my day went. I'm a morning person and breakfast is what I do. When I opened my eyes, breakfast was the first thing I wanted. I would gleefully bound to the kitchen to delight my palate and fuel my day. On the weekend I would create elaborate morning meals that often included pancakes, waffles, fruit, hash browns a form of a scramble and sometimes fresh squeezed juice. Yes, some could say I woke up for breakfast. But not anymore. Don't get me wrong. On the weekend I still do my best to go all out. But sometimes I'm happy to just toast a waffle. My typical morning now involves getting up, changing baby, creating lunch for my husband, preparing breakfast for my little one, feeding him and then when that is finished I remember that somewhere in my stomach I'm feeling a hunger pang. I will grab whatever is easiest and often mid meal I realize it's baby's nap time as he rubs his eyes and I go to put him down. When I return I usually look at my half eaten bowl of muesli or 3 day old pancakes and decide if I want to press on or move on. Not to mention the poor family dog who has been trying to get my attention the whole time to say "don't forget about me" which I'm ashamed to say, I sometimes do! But I wouldn't trade it for the world! When I say I'd choose this over my old routine any day, I'm being sincere.
Does this sound familiar? Before my my child was born, let's face it, I was a bit selfish. Not because I wanted to be selfish but because I could be. Perhaps selfish being too strong a word. I was able to fulfill my wants and wishes without thinking twice. Yes, everything in my life that matters is exactly the same. But the little things, the things that don't determine my self worth, don't determine the big picture, have changed.
What drives this change? If you said 'love' you are absolutely correct. A love for someone other than myself. Before the birth of my son I loved my husband, I loved my parents and so on. But this love is different. If I don't put aside my own desires, my baby's basic needs will be neglected.
Jesus tells us to "love your neighbor as you love yourself" but if we follow Jesus, He loved us MORE than He loved Himself. If He had loved us equal to himself perhaps the cross would have been a "I'll die for you, if you die for me" type of situation. His love said "I'll die for you, I'll give you salvation as a free gift, you just have to accept it". That's a love we have a difficult time understanding. Someone once said to me "it can't be that simple." But it is.
Look around the civilized countries. The more privileges we (as a group of people) have, the worse our attitudes become. The more freedom we have the more selfish and self absorbed we are. Inundated with ‘my wants’, ‘my wishes’, ‘my plans’, ‘my way’. Obsessed with social media culture, which should be re-titled from 'social' to 'self-centered'. Living in a world where two parents would leave their toddler, alone for hours at their house to go play an online interactive game to catch fake creatures, responding with "whatever" when police called with their boy who had been found locked outside their home, crying hysterically in his diaper in over 100 degree heat (yes, it happened).
I feel that Jesus knew it would be simply asking too much of us to say "love each other more than you love yourselves" But His actions say that's how He loves us.
Before the ancient flood the anti-deluvians were given everything. They lived in a world with perfect environmental conditions, they lived long and healthy lives and in the end they turned those blessings, that freedom, into such evil the Lord could no longer allow it to continue. They thought evil continually. And I believe the root of it, was the same root that began to poison Heaven. Selfishness. The same root that poisons you and I today.
What would happen if spouses said I care more for you than I care for myself. Parents said "I put your needs above my own". Co-workers shared "I want to make sure your project gets the green light."
Ask yourself how you would respond, react, behave and live. If everyone around you cared more for you, your well being, your success, your comfort and your needs, than they cared about themselves? How would that transform your reality? How would that change your heart?
If I simply obey the command to love equal to how I would like to be loved, treated, cared for, spoken too and looked upon. Sure, I will see change.
But maybe one day, through God's faith in me, I can go beyond and love with agape. What transformation might be seen in the world around us, if that were the case?
My prayer today is that through our love for others we can draw all men to Christ, through our faith in Jesus, living in us. May you, and may I, be the light of this world that scripture talks about.
Best Selling Author, Speaker, Singer, Radio Host and Music Ministry Consultant.