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 :)

30 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you on this. Its ok to like who we are but we cant be saved on our own!! We need God to be our savior. Leaning on ourselves and our sinful desires can lead to destruction and hurt but leaning on God you start to see things in Gods point of view. Being Loved by God is way better than loving yourself!

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    1. Yes! I think when God is our focus we have a healthy view of ourselves - we get a glimpse of how He sees us, like you said.

      Thanks for your comment, Kelsea. Keep resting in His love! :)

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    1. Thanks for reading Paige! I hope it was a blessing to you. :)

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  3. Really liked the distinction you made between ultimate love and ultimate self-love. Excellent article!

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    1. That contrast struck me too when I put it into words! Praise God - and thanks for your comment, Gloria! :)

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  4. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Your posts are always very thoughtful and inspiring.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, Bonnie. Thanks for your sweet comment! xx

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  5. I completely agree with what you said here... I've thought about this concept of "self acceptance" and "self love" before, and it just never made sense. Thank you for explaining it in light of the Bible and the truth of abiding in Christ vs. abiding in one's self. =)

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    1. Oh, I know what you mean - I couldn't get it straight in my mind for ages. Going back to the Bible helps a lot though. :) And wow, I see it links directly to what you've been studying! I'll have to think about it in light of abiding in Christ now. Thanks for commenting and sharing! :)

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  6. I haven't really heard much on this topic but I totally agree with what you say here. The only one who we can truly find acceptance in...is Jesus Christ. <3

    - Lilly Shyree (alillyingodsgarden.blogspot.com)

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    1. You're so right, Lilly! And I think that's the most important thing to know about the topic. :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  7. Wow, this is the coolest view point ever! Great post, and soooo encouraging! <3<3<3 Thanks Jessica!

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    1. Aw, I'm glad it was a blessing to you. :) Thanks a lot for your comment!

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  8. I've read a lot of posts on self-love and I have to say, I completely and utterly agree with you! However, I also think we do need to love ourselves to a point (bear with me). I don't know how to word it other then that, though that also sounds so wrong. I just see so many teens and young adults hating themselves and calling themselves ugly. WAIT. Maybe we should call it, "see ourselves through Jesus' eyes" instead of "love yourself." It just hit me how I need to word it haha (I can be so slow sometimes). We need to see ourselves through Jesus' eyes. That's how we'll learn to see ourselves as beautifully broken, as one loved by the King. It's seeing ourselves through Jesus' eyes. Not loving ourselves.
    Your posts are always amazing and make me rethink and reconsider. This topic has been on my mind a lot. <3

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    1. Yes! Wow, I came to the same conclusion, Kara. I think seeing ourselves through Jesus' eyes is so much more powerful too, because it's realising yes we mess up, but amazingly He still loves it. It conveys such value!

      Thanks for sharing, and for your wonderfully encouraging comments. Feel free to share any more of your thoughts on self-love too! :)

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  9. I just...couldn't agree more. Well written, well posed, well done. Shot straight to my heart like an arrow. I loved and truly appreciated this post of truth.

    -T
    x

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    1. Wow, thanks so much for your comment, Tane. I'm glad this could speak to you. All praise to Him! xx

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  10. YESS I TOTALLY LOVE THIS! There's a fine balance with the concept of "self-love," which is something I'm working on. I'm working on confidence -- trying not to get too down on myself -- but ultimately that help comes from God, even though I need to do my part.

    I don't know. It's a confusing topic, but thank you for writing about this. It's important. :)

    katie grace
    a writer's faith

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    1. I know, it does get so confusing! Because confidence and having a healthy view of ourselves is important, but I guess it comes down to finding it all in God, and having Him as our centre rather than looking to ourselves. Like you said though, we have our part to play too!

      Thanks a lot for leaving a comment, and sharing your thoughts, Katie!

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  11. Dude yes! (sorry I call people 'dude' when I get excited). But yesss I agree wholeheartedly. I too have been struggling about what to believe regarding self-love. The real issue was that sooo many Christians push this concept--like, most of my sources on self-love are Christians, and pretty experienced well-read ones at that. I was so confused because putting myself above others sounded directly opposite to what the Bible says. But then people had all these Bible verses...I was just like "ech, what do I do?!" I finally gave up trying to seek the answers in Christian blogs and decided to just pray. I'm still praying about it in fact, but the more I read and consider what God's Word says, the less value I place on "self first" and the more I see that "self last" is the concrete, solid, immovable command from God.

    Thank you for your bravery with this post--it's getting tougher and tougher to speak up about the truth of God's Word, even among professed Christians (I know because I often feel scared to share what I see in God's Word). Blessings to you!

    O | Life as a Young Lady

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    1. Dude, hey! (Don't worry, I do the same thing!) I see where you're coming from - it is so confusing with the multitude of conflicting ideas out there. You can't go wrong with prayer and reading the Bible though. Personally, I found when I tuned out all the information from everywhere else, and focused on what the Bible says, it became so much clearer for me. So, I encourage you to keep doing that, girl! And you're right, He's pretty specific about putting others first. I can't get past the example of Jesus - His whole life was the opposite of self-love. It's such a broad topic though; I'm still trying to think the whole thing through!

      Thanks for your encouraging comment! Blessings to you too! :)

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  12. wow, wow, wow. Someone is actually addressing this, it is so true Jessica. Thank you for sharing scripture and explaining it out so clearly. I still remember the days when i used to believe in self love...they were rocky. Its funny because I've particularly been thinking about this subject lately. Well done!

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    1. Your comment was a big encouragement to me, Anna! Thank-you! I'm glad this was relevant to you. :) I'd love to hear more about your journey with self-love too! It sounds like it's something you've put a lot thought into and had experience with too. And thanks for following too. :)

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    2. Of course <3 and i'm so glad I could encourage you

      Now that you say it...I think I'll post about it sometime. Because I did have this huge time frame when I resorted to self love and its a huge part of my testimony. Which I have been wanting to do :)

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    3. Wow, I'll be looking forward to reading about it then! :)

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  13. SO MUCH GOODNESS IN THIS POST. <333 All those scriptures you quoted are liFE TO MY BONES. I agree, there is no point to self-love without God. Because how are we supposed to see how pure and valuable and beautiful we truly are without Him? That's why Jesus is always inviting us to look a little deeper, search a little harder, lift our minds to heavenly places. "Engage your thoughts with throne room realities where you are co-seated with Christ in the executive authority of God’s right hand." (Colossians 3:1)

    IT'S ALSO REALLY COOL THAT I FOUND THIS JUST NOW because I was kind of meditating on this idea this morning...the idea of seeing ourselves how God sees us. True repentance. I began to see it so clearly in Acts 10:15, when God says to Peter "do not call anything impure than God has made clean" << it just hit home for me that this is us. If God has made us clean, then we cannot speak anything about ourselves to the contrary.

    WOW I'M RAMBLING. BUT YOUR BLOG POSTS ALWAYS INSPIRE SO MANY GOOD YUMMY THOUGHTS SAJHFLKAJLKS
    <333333333 THANK YOU FOR SHARING

    rock on,
    abbiee

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    1. Isn't the Bible amazing like that?! I like the verses you mentioned too - I hadn't thought about either of them in this context before. Especially that last one about Peter - yes.. that's so incredible. I'm going to go and read that passage again now. And it's amazing to think God sees all our faults and mistakes and still calls us clean. I mean, talk about ultimate love!

      That's amazing you were just thinking about this topic! And yes, really gaining a true view of ourselves is found by focusing on Him, and His sacrifice. It blows my mind, and I can't even comprehend it, haha.

      Thanks for sharing all that inspiration! I appreciate your thoughts and insights, Abbiee! (And ramble on! :) Rambling comments are goood.)

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