When hearing the term "self-love," some may think of self-absorption or selfishness. The Bible warns against such an attitude (Philippians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:4-6; Romans 2:8; 15:1-2; Proverbs 18:1). However, there is a way to love oneself without becoming self-focused. Philippians 2:4 says, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." In this verse we see the balance of loving ourselves enough to care for our own needs and loving others. There is a healthy, biblical way to love oneself.
Does the Bible talk about self-love / loving self?
Healthy self-love begins with an accurate view of who we are. Psalm 139 leaves no doubt that we are special. We were created by God, and He paid attention to the details. There is no cookie-cutter person; we are each unique. Jesus told us that God numbers the hairs on our head (Luke 12:7). We matter to God. God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 30:21; Ephesians 2:10). God desires fellowship with us (Isaiah 43:10; John 17:24). Our bodies are God's temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit dwells with us (John 14:16-17). God is at work in us and is faithful to complete that work (Philippians 1:6).
Sometimes Christians think that to live a life truly honoring to God we must be self-sacrificial to the point of martyrdom. If we do not believe we are the scum of the earth, then we doubt our humility. This perspective is inaccurate. Yes, there will be hardships in our lives (John 16:33). Some of us may be asked to sacrifice our lives for the sake of the gospel. However, appropriate humility is having an accurate view of self – understanding our sinfulness and God's salvation, recognizing both our weaknesses and our strengths. It means looking to God for our identity rather than judging our self-worth through comparisons. When we belittle ourselves, we belittle God's creation.
So, should Christians love themselves? Yes! God loves us. We accept His love by accepting ourselves. We see our flaws and submit them to Him. We do not love ourselves at the expense of obeying God. We do not allow self-love to turn into self-focus, making a god of ourselves or placing our desires above all else. We do not indulge our sinful natures or dismiss other people. Neither do we dismiss ourselves. Jesus came to give us life (John 10:10). If we do not love ourselves, we are not accepting the fullness of His gift.
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