The saying, “Love God first, others second, and yourself last,” sounds noble. It is not biblical. The Bible says we love because God first loves us (1 John 4:19). Then we are to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We cannot give away what we do not possess. A naked man cannot give you a shirt. God desires we love ourselves as He does, then love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).
One of the ways we demonstrate reception of God’s love is by setting boundaries and enforcing them. We teach people how to treat us by what we tolerate. What are your boundaries?
Boundaries protect what we value, so I have some boundaries.
I don’t tell men where I live unless I know them well because I have had several real stalkers. One I had to file a police report in 2018. I never gave this person any indication I wanted their attention, nada.
My instagram is private because though my pofile is mainly about Jesus, men would follow me and send creepy inbox messages.
I take roughly a year to watch and get to know people because of experiences of being too kind and people were not who they presented themselves to be.
I am slower to say yes to every ministry opportunity based on seeing everything that glitters is not God.
I pull back when I see red flags because I have traveled the road of ignoring them and it never turned out well.
I am more cautious being kind to men based on their wrong assumptions of my motives. Someone must vouch for them and their level of maturity.
I do not befriend everyone nor accept every invitation for deep, personal connection.
I do not just listen to what people say, I watch what they do and set boundaries accordingly.
I do not just trust clergy or Christians because they say they love Jesus. You know a tree by its fruit.
I do not go every place invited.
I do not pick up the phone for everyone, or pick it up past my rest time.
I do not spend copious amounts of time with people I do not trust.
I don’t befriend gossips.
I don’t tell everyone my business.
I don’t keep casting pearls before those who trample it under foot.
I don’t just give people money who ask, I pray and ask God. More giving is placed before Him lately. He knows what is wise.
I ask God to reveal who I truly am. I also ask Him to reveal tbe hearts of those who desire personal connection with me, so I know what level of access they need to have in my life.
Wisdom can come by listening to God/others and also through experience. I hope you love yourself as much as God does, then love your neighbor as you love yourself. I hope you have boundaries.
It is quite easy to be critical and judge. It is so easy to throw stones at other people and not see the plank in our own eyes. Why? We see in part and know in part. We can think we know and know nothing. God does not simply see the behaviors of humanity; God sees why people do what they do.
How many of you have been harmed greatly by someone who seemed to not get what the problem is? How many of you have been harmed by a professing Christian? Ah, it stings a bit more when they claim to love Jesus and do not love others right? Yet there is a part of the puzzle God sees that we may not. God sees how much of His love they have actually received. We can only give away what we possess.
We tell people to love God and others. “Love God, love others, love yourself last.” This mantra has led to loads of dysfunctional and sometimes codependent relationships. “I will love myself last and God will be so proud.” Well, it sounds noble. The problem is that is it is not biblical.
The Bible says we love because God first loves us (1 John 4:19). The starting point is God. God is love (1 John 4:8).
God is the source of agape (unselfish, sacrificial, unwavering love). This love is the highest of all loves. It trumps eros (romantic/sexual), philia (brotherly love), and storage (family love). Jesus stated His disciples would be known by their agape love (John 13:34-35). This love is the 1 Corinthians 13 type of love.
The next step is receiving God’s love, then giving that love back to God and loving our neighbor AS we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We will not be able to love God or our neighbor if we do not FIRST RECEIVE agape from God. “God here I am in need of your love, help me to receive the fullness of your love for me,” is a great starting prayer.
It is so vital that we learn how to receive love from God and believe God loves us.
Our thoughts matter! We will not out behave our thought life. Those who think they are the scum of the earth tend to treat others poorly. Those who have not fully accepted they are profoundly loved and accepted by God tend to struggle with loving God, themselves, and others. Your greatest adversary lacks God love. The person who mistreated or abused you lacked God love. The people who dishonored you, they lacked God love.
We cannot give away what we do not possess.
When we move beyond judging behavior to recognizing the root, compassion fills our heart. We move from being critical to praying the other person knows intimately the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of God’s love. We can only reveal to others the God we know. We can only honor others when we have experienced His honor and approval.
When people ask “How could you sit with the homeless, they are so dirty and gross?” I think, “How could I not? I see someone God created with great love. Under all the dirt, is a treasure.” I can honor what society calls, “The least of them,” because I know how much God loves me. If I were dirty and on the streets, I would anticipate God sending someone to love me. I am greatly loved, so are they, and so are you.
Jesus was able to move in high levels of compassion because He was one with the Father. He was not led by His flesh. Jesus knew how greatly He was loved, therefore He could take the lowest place. He could honor the least, last, lost, sinners, and lepers of society because He knew His worth. Those who do not know their own worth or value will not be able to see yours or anyone else’s.
One of the greatest revelations I had from God regarding people was during a season I was being grossly mistreated by Christians. God spoke to my heart, “People will not treat you any better than they treat me. People can not give you what they do not possess.” I recognized in that moment people say they love God, yet if you observe them, some do not honor, cherish, respect, obey, listen to God, etc… For some people, God is their sugar daddy or fire insurance. Loving God to gain something from Him is not loving God.
You can tell quite a bit about how a person feels about themselves by how they treat other people.
You can also gain insight into how people will treat you if you look at how they treat God. If God is only pursued to gain something, that is how they will treat you.
I am learning not to take things personally. How people behave, myself included, is a reflection of the inner condition. Those who know they are loved, love well. Those who try to “fake it til they make it,” tend to hurt tons of people because their love is shallow or deficient.
Before we throw stones, get offended, or hurt by people, pause. Press pause and ask God for His view point of the person, situation, and what is not as visibly seen.
I had a friend chat with me about missing friend gatherings. More than my introversion, there is normally a reason aligned with everything I say no to. Instead of taking on offense, he asked me about it and we talked. His heart grew with compassion.
The evil one will tell you to judge, jump to conclusions, criticize people, be nasty, look for all the things the other person is doing that could be wrong. Love moves us deeper into compassion. Maybe, most likely, there is something more going on than meets the eye.
May you and I sink deeper into compassion. It is a fruit of God’s love.
“…when he (Jesus) saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd,”-Matthew 9:36.
I hope to release book 4, Killing Insecurity, either later this year or 2021! I hope it leads many into freedom. God longs to see us live bold, confident, and FREE!!
P.S You can support our mission to love the homeless, poor, and victims of human trafficking by supporting our new merch store. Go to empoweredandfreemerch.com.
Confident people tend to treat others better than insecure people. Why? If we love ourselves, then we can love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Insecurity is more than just not feeling good about oneself.
Some people cannot be alone, they are fearful, and therefore they cling to anyone who comforts that fear of being alone or left out.
Some insecurity manifests in greed, hoarding, and the inability to be generous. If you give, then there is fear of not having enough.
Some insecurity manifests in settling for less than in relationships and treatment.
Some insecurity manifests in pushing oneself to the front of the line or excessive boasting.
Some insecurity manifests in promiscuity and unholy relationships; lust is false love. It may feel like love to people, but it leaves them empty.
Some insecurity manifests in unhealthy jealousy, comparison, or envy-they must have all the attention or blessing. If not, the internal deficit is triggered.
In the case of abuse, people treat other people the way they feel about themselves. It’s easy to talk down to you or slap you around because they hate themselves. The way people talk to you is often how they talk to themselves.
The critical spirit is rooted in insecurity-“I will nit pick everyone else to bypass dealing with my own issues.”
Manipulation and control are rooted in insecurity (fear). When we are secure in God, we have no need to try to control everything.
Racism and sexism are both deeply rooted in insecurity. Someone must be inferior to feel superior or good about one’s self or group.
God invites us to ditch insecurity and find identity in Him. Godly confidence differs from self confidence because it is rooted in who we are in God; created in His image, His workmanship, fearfully and wonderfully made, desired, cherished, without rival, uniquely loved, the object of God’s affection. God is not unstable, nor His feelings flakey. God is love 24/7 and always. When we live out of His love, our identity grows secure. Living loved by God enables us to give that love away to others and cease comparison, envy, or gross mistreatment of others. Why? We see our value and theirs.
There is a cure for insecurity and it’s found in God’s love; knowing God’s love, receiving God’s love, abiding in God’s love, being healed by God’s love, and living from God’s love. Our world is suffering from broken identity and insecurity. More than having a sin problem, there is an identity crisis. When we know who we are from the perspective of God, we cease mistreating others and ourselves. May you and I seek knowing the fullness of God’s love!!
Prayer: God show me who you are and who I am from your perspective. Heal my hurts, insecurities, and hidden fears. I want to live fully loved by you! Today I want to ditch insecurity and cling to godly confidence.
I hope you enjoy this weekend! Labor Day signals for me that Summer is coming to a close. Where has the time gone? Maybe you had a blast this year; maybe it was a challenge. Either way, the seasons are about to change. I don’t enjoy the shorter daylight hours in my region. I do enjoy the concept of change.
I used to hate change and then I was thrust into situations that forced me to change. Not all change is bad.
Life is this gift and if we are not careful we can waste it on things that simply do not matter. You can invest all your time and energy into a job or career that easily lets you go if the economy goes south. You can over give and waste hours of your life helping people while neglecting yourself. You may think you are being the Good Samaritan, yet in actuality you have failed to set appropriate boundaries. You can waste time being someone’s back up plan for when they don’t want to be alone or their other friends are busy or away. If we are not careful, summer can speed into winter and we remain in the same place.
I don’t know about you, but I hate wasting time unless I am resting. I need for life and interactions to have some form of meaning. Why are you at that job? Why are you friends with that person? What are you doing with your life? I ask these questions.
I may be a bit more reflective for a holiday than normal. I simply took some time away from my phone to reflect on lifeand to have less distractions while studying.
As the seasons shift and change, I asked if I was positioned for my best yes in life with God? Are there areas of my life that need tweaking so I can thrive? Am I connected to the right things and divine alignments, Are there people in my life who are energy vampires who just suck the life out of me? Where do I want to see change? Where does God want to see change?
Unlike a tree, if we see something that needs changed we can do something. One thing I desire to change is ceasing being a hostage to my phone or the whims of people. They are bored, so I must be available. They have a crisis, I must respond. It’s good to turn the phone off sometimes and just be a human being. It’s also great to spend time with people who choose you when they are not bored, not in need, not sick, not lonely, their favorite friend is not available, and they are not in crisis.
Part of living empowered, confident, and free is learning to set appropriate limits with our time, resources, and our lives. Without boundaries and balance, we can easily crash and burn or worse-waste our lives.
Which areas of your life need transition and change? What are you doing about it? Are you a hostage in your own life? You don’t have to be! Is Labor Day an escape from a life you hate, or a day of peace. It is supposed to be a cease from laboring day. Yet it can be an opportunity for reset, some reflection, and refining. What are your priorities in this new season?
I may be deep today, yet my thoughts have been focused more on getting the most out of life. I hope you have a great weekend and count blessings.
As a blessing to readers, both stores are 30% until September 4th! It’s tradition to throw a sale on holidays. If you love the blog, we’d love you support at our book store and/or merchandise store.
Grab books and digital products at empowered-free.com/shop.
Grab t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and home goods at empoweredandfreemerch.com. Part of the proceeds go to help with the homeless outreach and missions. We are raising money currently for a South Africa mission.
I hope to see you at one of the upcoming book signings! It is great when we can connect in person and I have a great giveaway planned for each event! You won’t want to miss this!!
I would also love to have your help spreading the word about the new tshirt and home goods line! I would love your support in grabbing something from the store. It’s for a great cause!
I chose to place these items on empoweredandfreemerch.com! Why? There are so many fun items to choose from and it’s seperate from the books and teachings. Our color line is one of my favorites! Can you tell?!
I love the tote and the large one holds so much! I enjoy the mugs too!
What I love most about this line is part of the proceeds go to helping the poor, homeless, and victims of human trafficking! Instead of begging for donations, I chose to create items that align with the mission. Free to Soar is another line I love! We will soar on wings like eagles.
Confident & Free is more than a book or conference, it is a movement! I see a movement of bold, colorful, confident, and free women arising! They are full of grace, honor, and love. They are not victims nor insecure.
When you grab an item from the store, you are also sowing into our future missions in South Africa and other parts of the world.
Grab a mug, grab a tshirt! It’s for a good cause. It’s free standard shipping.
empoweredandfreemerch.com (for tshirts and home goods)
empowered-free.com/shop (for books and teaching materials)
The Bible discourages comparison. Let’s talk about our cultural obsession with keeping up with the Joneses.
We each have a unique voice and journey. Each person has their own assignment and pace. Looking to the left or the right can bring significant bondage. When we compare it leads to either self righteousness or pride (I am better than this person) or insecurity which is the flip side of pride (I am not as good or capable as this other person).
Sometimes jealousy, envy, and strife are rooted in comparison. Look at what the other person is doing (especially on social media). How do you measure up? Jealousy is being upset someone else is getting attention or a blessing or has something the person thinks they deserve. Envy is not wanting them to have it. Strife is the fighting, gossiping, arguments, and bitterness that emerge from the sin.
Our measure of how well we are doing in life, in ministry, in business, etc…is best rooted in God. If your church has 10 people that you are faithfully serving-praise God. If the other church has 10,000 whooohoo. Comparing numbers is a waste of time. Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents.
I had a lady tell me my outreach to the poor was just giving out handouts and their ministry was training people for jobs. Well, awesome you have resources for job training. I have resources to help people not eat out of the garbage for a day and get saved. Then we connect them with larger ministries who help them with rehab, job placement, daily meals, after care, discipleship, etc…Jesus stated if your enemy is hungry feed him. Why worry about what that other ministry is doing. Stay in your lane. I rarely look at what other people are doing unless it’s for inspiration. I am not them, they are not me.
God creates. He does not clone. We are NOT to be cookie cutter duplicates of each other.
I had someone else tell me I needed to be more like this other minister who travels the world preaching. I said no. I reach 144 countries through my blogging (I have two blogs) and social media, sometimes 10,000 people a week. What I need to do is stay rooted in Jesus and do what I see the Father doing. If one person get’s saved, I rejoice. We had one salvation at outreach Sarurday. Thank you God! I don’t care if another outreach saw 100s.
Comparison is toxic. The Bible says the following:
Galatians 6:4-5 Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.
2 Corinthians 10:12 We wouldn’t put ourselves in the same class with or compare ourselves to those who are bold enough to make their own recommendations. Certainly, when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves, they show how foolish they are.
James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Proverbs 14:30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
1 Corinthians 3:3 For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
Our world loves comparison, God asks us to be of the Kingdom-not the world.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
We don’t live for people. We live for God.
Philippians 2:3 Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.
Galatians 1:10 Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Isaiah 2:22 Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
May you and I stay focused on the most important thing; God. May we ditch comparison and focus on running our own race with Jesus. In the end, we will all give an account for our own lives, not anyone else’s. Ditch comparison and find joy in the journey with God. We are not with God to perform or tally metrics. We are with God to love Him, know Him, and enjoy Him! It is impossible to have our eyes fixed on God while hyper focusing on what our neighbor is doing.
May we also stop comparing each other. “Oh you need to be more like (fill in the blank).” I honestly cannot be someone else. I am called to be Erin Lamb, the one Father calls Judah. I do not have the same capacity, heart, giftings, etc…as the person next to me. I do what I am called to do by the power of God in me. I encourage that for everyone. What has God given you? Use that for His glory.
Empowered-Free.Com/Shop (check out books, teaching materials)
EmpoweredandFreemerch.com (check out our tshirts, merch, mugs, and more. Part of the proceeds go towards helping the poor, homeless, and victims of human trafficking)
OperationGodisLove.org (charity work)
P.S If you are in Ohio, I would love to connect with you at the next two book signings!