19 May, 2017

The Gospel of Loving Yourself

Self-love is a widely accepted concept these days. I’ve heard many different strains of it – some decidedly not Christian, others quoting Bible verses to back up their points. I wasn’t sure where to stand on the subject, but things are becoming clearer as I’ve researched and thought about it. I want to share – not to be disagreeable, but because I believe in making informed decisions, rather than going along with whatever’s popular.

The biggest problem I found with self-love is it takes away the need for salvation, and ultimately the need for God. If we love and accept all the sinful parts of ourselves, why did Christ have to die for our sins?  If we become better through loving ourselves, why do we need the power and grace of God? If we are perfect in our imperfections, why follow Christ’s commands and grow in Him? If all power comes from within, why is there need for surrender? If we are enough in ourselves, why do we need God?

But the Bible says all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, (Isaiah 64:6), and all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Jesus said, I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) The truth is, we can’t trust ourselves, we can’t better ourselves, and we can’t save ourselves.

Being self-centred is also the opposite of God’s ideal for living: Love…seeketh not her own. (1 Corinthians 13:5) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. (Romans 12:10)

God, the definition of perfect love, gave up everything so we could have salvation, and lives now to continue working salvation in us. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16) Ultimate love equals ultimate self-sacrifice. Self ‘love’ is the opposite. Ultimate self-love is sacrificing anything to gain what we want.

But, this isn’t to say the right attitude to have about ourselves is self-hate. The Bible is clear we’re created and redeemed and loved by God, and have infinite worth and value. 

So what is the antidote for self-love? How can we find self-esteem or self-acceptance apart from it? The answer is God, in resting in His love. Apart from God we can’t do anything; without Him, we’re nothing. But with Him all things are possible. Instead of trying to fill the holes inside with positive words and thoughts about ourselves, fill them with God’s truths. The truth that God promises to be with me, to satisfy my longings, to give me everything I ever need. The truth that when I fall, God extends His grace and forgiveness to me, and I’m never beyond His love. The truth that He gave up everything to be able to have me with Him forever in a perfect place, and He calls me His daughter, an heir of His kingdom.

There’s a natural law that whatever we focus on is what we become like. If we focus on ourselves, we’re never going to rise above ourselves. But if we focus on God, the Bible promises:  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18) By the power of God, our fallen messed up selves will change to be more and more like our Maker. 

What could be better than loving ourselves? Being loved and accepted and treasured by the definition of love Himself, the all-powerful sustainer of the universe who personally loves you.


I know I haven’t begun to cover the different aspects of this extensive topic. I recommend this brilliant article which discusses a few other points: Did Jesus say I must 'love myself' first? Also, I want to be clear: this wasn’t written to target anyone specific, or as a response to any particular post. It’s something I’ve been personally chewing over for a while.

I hope you know I’m eager to hear what you think! How do you see self-love? Do you agree with what I’ve said? Please share your thoughts and findings! I’m still learning :)

10 May, 2017

Thoughts of Today

The brain is an amazing thing. I was thinking about some of the information my brain processes: what I’m learning about counselling, information and new skills for my job, interesting findings in Ezekiel, aspects of truth and love I’ve been studying in 2 John, research about a topic I’ve been pondering, and putting into action feedback my teacher gave me on my music. There’s the general planning of the week, deciding what to cook, talking about my family’s activities, and noticing the weather. And it still absorbs song lyrics, and replays them at random. How is that not incredible?! Information is coming from all different sources about all different topics, and my brain processes and remembers things. It applies them to circumstances and thoughts of the past and present, which affects my future thoughts and reactions. And for the most part, this is automated and subconscious. I can’t even comprehend it. 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

A few things I’ve observed recently: 

Things that make me closer to God
Prayer, conversational prayer
Reading or studying the Bible
Reading inspirational books
Choosing to think about Him
            Pondering what I’ve read in the Bible          
Looking for answers to hard questions
Talking to like-minded friends
Taking in creation/ being in nature
Doing something for others
Counting my blessings

Things that make me further from God
Internet browsing (specifically Pinterest, YouTube, random irrelevant information, etc)
Storybooks, especially fast paced ones
Listening to music
Worrying about the future
Small talk
Going to town/shopping
Thinking about other’s faults
Thinking about my inadequacies
Doing something I know is wrong
Compromising my standards
Not getting enough sleep 

Actually, I found this useful, because when I think about doing one of the activities mentioned, immediately my mind equates it with either taking from or towards God. 


I was reading something today, and I can’t remember where or what it was, but it reminded me: the glory of God is our number one priority. Not looking good, not having enough money, not satisfying our wants, not even enjoying life or doing something good for others. God’s glory comes first, and everything else finds its purpose in that. Really, the way to get the most out of life, satisfy our desires, and everything else, is by living for the glory of God.

I knew that (somewhere in the back recesses of my mind), but I haven’t been asking that question of my thoughts and desires and actions and plans. It’s powerful: if my life is all about the glory of God, it doesn’t matter a cent what direction my life takes or what people think. If I’m doing what God wants me to do to advance His glory, I have nothing to lose. The Almighty is on my side. Except, I’m actually on His side, and He’s already won the victory. 


What have you been thinking about these days? Have you observed anything particular draws you closer to God, or distracts you from Him? What are your thoughts on the complexity of our brains, or living for the glory of God? Let’s have a conversation! :)

04 May, 2017

Lessons from a Ninety Year Old

Last week, while canvassing, I had the privilege of meeting an amazing lady. She was ninety years old, and we had a great conversation. I was only at her place for a short time, but I learned a lot. I started jotting down the lessons she embodied, thinking I would only come up with half a dozen. But the list went on, and behind each point is a story.

Do talk to strangers
Take time for others
Give credit where credit is due
Don’t think too highly of yourself
Listen to your parents
Value family and community
Stay upbeat – always look on the bright side
Find your purpose in serving
Work for your money
Be content with what you have
Say your prayers anyway
It’s okay for things to affect you
Don’t say you can’t
Cheekiness can be done well
You’re never too old
Don’t get out of your pyjamas unnecessarily
Relationships matter most
Don’t give up
The one thing to look for in a spouse is unselfishness
Take pride in your family
Be faithful until death does you part
Stories show character
We can always learn from somebody
The most important thing is love

I was talking to her for under an hour, but left feeling so blessed. If I had to sum up my perception of this lady’s life in a word, it would be the verb give. Almost every story she told demonstrated her self-sacrificing spirit, right down to the fact that she is currently looking after her husband who has Alzheimer’s. “He’s like a child,” she told me, “but I still love him.” And yet, she was so humble. I told her she was amazing and she said she was just an ordinary housemother. I told her she was an inspiration, and she looked at me and said, “Am I really?” then proceeded to tell me she was just doing her bit. 

While she was looking around the house for a donation for a book I was leaving with her, I noticed a plaque on her wall. It described how Jesus was so unassuming – he was born in a feed bin, he never travelled the world, he wasn’t heralded by leaders of the day. His presence was a gift, His ministry was denial, and His death ultimate self-sacrifice. And yet, He had the biggest impact on history.

When I commented on the message, this dear old lady promptly pulled the plaque off her wall and gave it to me. I can’t help but think that’s something Jesus would do.