“Someday, I’m gonna be a real boy!” said Pinocchio in the 1940 Disney movie.

And as strange as the Disney adaptation of the story is, the original is significantly darker and portrays Pinocchio as being even more selfish and aggressive.

In the original story from 1881, a poor man named Geppetto is given a block of enchanted wood. He begins to carve it into a puppet named Pinocchio with hopes of earning a living as a puppeteer. 

But before he is even built Pinocchio already has a mischievous attitude. As soon as Geppetto finishes carving Pinocchio’s feet the puppet begins to kick him. Once the puppet is finished and learns to walk, he runs away.

Pinocchio was written as a fairy tale filled with moral lessons: The lies you tell are as plain as the nose on your face, disobedience never pays, and children who love their parents will be rewarded.

Interestingly, The Adventures of Pinocchio has been translated into over 300 languages and is the world’s most translated non-religious book.

More interesting, the Bible remains the world’s most translated book with at least one book now available in a staggering 3,312 languages. The New Testament is available in 2,191 languages, while the Old and New Testaments together can be read in 670 languages.

Carlo Collodi, the Italian author and journalist who was best known as the creator of Pinocchio, joined the seminary as a young man with intentions of becoming a priest. The cause of Italian national unification usurped his calling, and he turned instead to journalism and writing.

Should we be surprised then that the original seed for Pinocchio may have come directly from Scripture?

Who do you think you are to second-guess God? How could a human being molded out of clay say to the one who molded him, “Why in the world did you make me this way?” Or are you denying the right of the potter to make out of clay whatever he wants? Doesn’t the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay an elegant vase or an ordinary pot?

Romans 9:20-21 TPT

God created you on purpose. And for a purpose.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been told different—that you were conceived as a mistake, or an accident, or out of a lapse of judgement, or because of failed protection, or anything else.

God created you on purpose. And God brought you into this world with a purpose in mind for your life.

More importantly: God loves you.

Just as you are. Right now. Before you’ve straightened out or cleaned up or made yourself more presentable or anything else.

Just as you are.

When we consider how to love our neighbors—because it’s the Second Greatest Commandment—we often forget about that other part. The part about loving ourselves.

Do you know that loving your neighbor AS YOURSELF is found eight times in the Bible? 

Not once. Not twice. Eight times. 

Loving your neighbor as yourself is so important to God that He not only repeats Himself, He makes it a command. And not just one in a list of many commands. Jesus coupled the command to love your neighbor as yourself with loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

James calls it the royal law. It sounds beautiful, and it is when we obey it.

But sometimes we kick and scream at God like Pinocchio did at Geppetto.

Sometimes we second-guess God and complain, “Why in the world did you make me this way?”

Just to be clear, we’re not talking about the self-absorbed, narcissistic “love” that Pinocchio had for himself. The kind of “me and my own pleasure” self-allegiance that got Pinocchio into so much trouble in the first place.

We’re talking about what God says love actually is. And figuring THAT out begins with two steps: 

First, you can’t love anyone without understanding what love ACTUALLY IS. You can’t love God. You can’t love your neighbor. You certainly can’t love yourself.

Second, you can’t love anyone without realizing that you ARE loved. Already loved. By God.

This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us first and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

1 John 4:10 MSG

You are the object of this love. God loves you. YOU. Knowing this MATTERS.

No, we’re not talking about general warm and fuzzy feelings.

You are deeply and unconditionally LOVED BY GOD. 

When we can get our heads wrapped around this, we can understand that God is our source of love. Because God loved us first. He loved us even before Jesus gave his life for us.

Today, take a step towards genuine and honest love for yourself. 

Today, ask God to help you see yourself as God sees you. To help you accept yourself as God accepts you. And to help you love yourself as God loves you.

Because tapping into God as the SOURCE of love is what will give you the ability to deeply and unconditionally love yourself. And in turn to love others as God commands.

Maybe not today. Perhaps not even right away. But it WILL put you on the right pathway:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

Walk in the way of love.

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.