Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 10-29-23 “Loving Yourself” 

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Matthew 22:34-46

Most of the times, if not all, when I preach on Matthew 22:34-46, I make emphasis on “love God and love your neighbor” and what it means. However, today as part of “Breast Cancer Awareness Sunday” I will make emphasis on “as yourself part” because I believe that if Jesus asked us to love ourselves, then we should do it. You see, Jesus could have easily said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And ‘You shall love your neighbor, omitting “as yourself.” But he did not. Therefore, If Jesus said it, then it must be important for us love ourselves.

It is important to note that while self-love is important, we should not be arrogant. Because that is what the Bible warns us against of. We can love ourselves and still love our neighbors and put their interests before our own because that what Jesus did. The commitment of loving our neighbor begins when we love ourselves. Ephesians 5:29 says, “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” Paul, led by the Holly Spirit reminds us that we must feed and take care of our bodies the same way Jesus cares and feed the church.

Psalm 139:14 has a very important statement, it says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” This verse tells us that God made our bodies so wonderfully that if we pay attention to them, we will save ourselves a lot of problems. And that is what I would like to remind you today, sisters and brothers. Let us take care of our bodies. That care begins paying attention when our bodies talk to us. How do our bodies talk to us? Through the sensors God created us with.

You see, God made us in such a beautiful and perfect way that when something bad is going on inside, our bodies let us know through some warnings or symptoms. Symptoms that if we pay attention to, we will detect some illness on time. You see, when we have fever, the body tells us that an infection may be growing inside of us. Chest pain is the way our beautifully made body may be warning us of a heart attack. A headache may also be an indication of high blood pressure. A dimpling or a bump in our body is also something we must pay attention to. It may develop into a tumor. Increase urination and weight loss may be indication of possible diabetes.

What about the silence killer illnesses such as Colon Cancer, Osteoporosis, Cervical Cancer, Hepatitis, or others? Those can be detected with annual checkups such as colonoscopy, Mammograms, and physicals.

The “love your neighbor part” in the context of Cancer Awareness Sunday, we practice it when we encourage our spouses, friends, and loved ones to take care of their bodies too.

  Let us remember that we are not the owners of our bodies, we are only stewards. Our bodies are temple of the Holy Spirit and as respect and worship to God who dwells in us, we must respect it and take care of it. Besides being dwelling place of God, our bodies are also mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers and if something happen to us, we will be missed, and the lives of others will be also affected.

James 1:16 and 17 says, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” Therefore, brothers and sisters let us take advantage of everything science has available for us. All that knowledge comes from God with the purpose of helping us to take care of our bodies and our minds.

In an article about anxiety title: What It Really Means to Take Care of Yourself” in the magazine Psychology Today, Posted on April 23, 2021. I found this, “Self-care means doing things you initially don’t want to do and making the choice to do what’s uncomfortable.” Going to the doctor is something we do not like to do. Taking medicine and some annual exams makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes makes us so uncomfortable that we even believe that if we do not go to the doctor and go through all those exams, all our diseases are going to disappear and it is not like that, we will get worse.

Today celebrating the memory of all our loved ones that cancer took away from us and celebrating the life of all those women and men who defeated cancer, I would like to invite you to make the commitment to take care of yourself. Commit yourself to listen to your body and go to the doctor, take your annual physical. Honor God by honoring your body, honor your family by staying healthy.

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