In the last few weeks, several people asked about self-love and whether it is biblical. Today’s post looks at self-love and what the Bible has to say about it.
What is self-love?
According to Merriam Webster, Self-love is an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue. Another definition is having regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. This type of self-love is different from narcissistic characteristics.
To really define Self-love from a biblical perspective, we have to go back to the beginning.
God created the heavens and the earth and then he said, let us make man in our own image, in our likeness…then God created man in his own image. In the image of God, he created him, male and female he created them Genesis 1:26-27. In verse 31, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, God created. He put them in charge of everything in his garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All was well with God’s creation until Adam and Eve decided to test God’s boundaries.
The enemy disguised as a serpent tempted Eve to doubt God’s goodness and eat the fruit from the tree that God told them not to eat. The serpent said to Eve, Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden? Genesis 3:2
Eve gave into temptation and ate the fruit. Then she offered some to her husband. Then both their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked. (Read the full story in Genesis Chapters 1-3)
heir disobedience to God had great consequences for their offspring and future generations including you and me. As their descendants, we inherited their sinful nature. All of us are born sinners…According to Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…that is our foundation.
In case you are wondering how all this is related to self-love, hang with me for a moment.
Remember, God’s plan in Genesis, he declared that everything he made was good. After Adam and Eve’s fall, God’s desire was to restore mankind back to the original state, but because God is holy, sin blocks us from being in a right relationship with him, ourselves, and others.
What does God have to say about self-love?
So God in his goodness, sent his son Jesus, to earth as a sacrifice to die for our sins and restore us to a right relationship with him. The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) give a full account of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus, God’s son was ridiculed, shamed, spat on, flogged, and eventually nailed to the Cross. He died a gruesome death.
Why did Jesus die? So that you and I might live and have eternal life.
So everyone who put their faith in Jesus gains access and a right to be called the children of God. He loves each one of us, especially if we put our faith in Christ.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 1 John 3:1
Knowing and accepting God’s love of you is the foundation for accepting who you are (self-acceptance) and loving yourself. Your identity, who you are is a reflection of Christ’s love for you. It is unconditional and not tied to your performance.
When we accept God’s love, we can love ourselves and others well.
1 John 4:19, reminds us, We love because he first loved us.
Why is it important to address this issue of self-love?
Our struggle with self-love is actually an identity crisis because we don’t accept ourselves as God created us. We feel that we know better and compare ourselves to others.
For example, I might compare myself with someone who is tall and because I am short, reject myself. If my hair is thin, I might say I don’t like my hair, she has better hair than me. I am too skinny… and on and on. All these comparisons contribute to our struggles with self-image. Social media, bullying, childhood trauma, abuse of any kind, and shaming others based on differences are additional factors.
Comparison leads to struggles with body image, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy.
How can you love yourself well in a biblical sense?
A friend shared a post on social media that helps drive this point home.
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself. There will never be another you, so embrace yourself.
I remember growing up there were so many things I did not like about myself.
I felt like I was not beautiful enough, I was not tall enough, I did not have the perfect body,
I was not loveable, and because of that I made a lot of mistakes.
Love yourself, treat yourself better, be kind to yourself, like yourself.
Because how you treat yourself is how people will treat you.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, God never makes mistakes.
He knew you before you were born my dear.
You are unique, stop hating yourself.”
I couldn’t have said it any better. To fully love yourself, focus on God’s love for you.
See yourself as God really sees you and combat these lies with truth of Psalm 139:14-you are Fearfully and Wonderfully made.
When you experience insecurity, look to God. Remind yourself of your God given identity and the precious sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, to make you an unworthy sinner worthy. Nothing can separate you and I from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. So friend,
Fix your eyes on Jesus. You are worthy.
Practical ways to know, accept, and be yourself
- Get to know yourself, strengths, weaknesses, personality, hope, dreams, and aspirations. Find time to be alone and enjoy time by yourself. Use this quiet time to ask God to reveal who you are to you, your special gifts, talents, and areas of growth. Reflect and write in your journal.
- Accept yourself, flaws, warts, and strengths. Keep your eyes on Jesus! Stay in your lane and quit comparing yourself with others. If you admire someone’s talent, bless, and thank God for their gifts.
- Be yourself- Get comfortable living in your own skin. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. Do what makes you come alive. Friend, what makes your heart sing? What is the special gift that God has gifted you? Find out and pursue it with a passion.
- When you make a mistake, confess your sins to God and accept his forgiveness. Also, forgive others. Commit to living a life of GRACE.
- Love and serve others. When we accept God’s love, it becomes easier to love ourselves and others well.
- Ask for help and receive help- Allow others to bless you with their gifts and talents.
- Make gratitude a daily habit. Thank God for small and big things.
- Be patient with yourself. No one is perfect!
When Paul asked God to take away his weakness, here is God’s reply.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
If you need professional help, Focus on the Family offers referrals to licensed counselors across the United States.
Friend, God loves you!
Remember, nothing can separate you from his love, not even your weaknesses!
You are one of a Kind, Unique, and Precious to the Father.
Prayerfully Read Ephesians 1:3-14. What does it say about how God sees you? Write in your journal, pray, and thank God for who you are in him.
Father, thank you for creating me uniquely and wonderfully. You are the potter, I am the clay, help me accept the way you have created me, uniquely, fearfully, and wonderfully. Forgive me for thinking I know better. Use my perceived weaknesses to bless others. Thank you for loving me. I bless you, Lord. In Jesus, Precious Name. Amen.
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