Why the Importance of Loving Yourself is a Big, Fat Lie
Do you like you? I’m not talking about your image in the sense of the physical body, but in the core of who you are as an individual. Should we love ourselves?
If you’re like I once was, you probably answered, “yes.” Society says we should. We hear it all the time. I googled, “love yourself.” Hundreds of articles and book titles are available.
Here a few titles and quotes I came across: “How to Love Yourself Unconditionally,” “If you want to soar in life, you must first learn to F.L.Y. (First love yourself),” and “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It.”
I am going to say something that will not make me popular.
Loving ourselves is not a godly ambition. It is not something we must learn to do. Loving ourselves first is not hard to achieve. We are not saints that love others so much more that we struggle to also love us (it sure makes one feel good to think so, though). This is a difficult fact for us to swallow: We already love ourselves! We love to love ourselves.
Dear friends, we need to stop filling our minds up with what the world claims and realign our thoughts with what God says is true.
I have yet to find verses in the Bible that says I need to love me. On the contrary, God says much about loving Him and loving others.
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees asked Jesus a question. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the law? And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.“
People often read this and say, “See! Jesus said we are to love ourselves! ” That conclusion is misconstrued. In the passage (and in many others), note that self-love is addressed as an indubitable part of our character and being.
You know what has forced me to come face-to-face with this uncomfortable truth? How often I build myself up in light of others. Why do I do it? Well, the alternative is to make much of someone else. Therein lies my problem: I love myself more than others.
The apostle Paul said that believers are not to “think of himself more highly than he ought” (Romans 12:3). Hmmm… I wonder why he didn’t say, “you need to think of yourself more highly?” Could it be that our self-love is why we must be ever so diligent to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3)?
Loving others more than ME is not something that comes naturally. It requires a humility that I do not posses on my own.
Will you join me today in asking God to:
1) Give us a hunger for His Word. It is impossible to know when we are being lied to or when our minds need a realignment if we do not make the time to spend with Jesus who is the Word (in sunday school terms, what I’m trying to say is: we need to read our Bibles… everyday).
2) Remove our pride and give us humility. Pride prevents us from growing, learning, and having minds that are renewed (Romans 12:2).
3) Give us teachable spirits. Too often we snip and cut Scripture in an attempt to make it say what we want to hear. We must instead be willing to come before the Lord trusting that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness [so] that the man of God may be complete,equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:16-17).
4) Redirect our focus from ourselves to Him.