SELF LOVE AND CHRISTIANITY | WHAT THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SELF LOVE

SELF LOVE AND CHRISTIANITY | WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SELF LOVE

Self love is a concept that is often discussed in popular culture, but can there be a link between self love and Christianity?

Is self-love compatible with the teachings of the Bible?

Self love and Christianity are not the usual words you’d see together.

While self love may have different connotations in secular society, we will uncover the biblical understanding of self-love in this talk and its significance in our lives as followers of Christ.

Love

What is self love?

Self love is caring for and appreciating all aspects of yourself. It involves caring for your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, setting healthy boundaries, and treating yourself with kindness and compassion. 

Self love is about nurturing a positive relationship with yourself and prioritizing your needs and happiness.

Self-love vs. self-confidence

Self-love and self-confidence can be misunderstood, and while these two might be closely related, they are also distinct. 

Self-love is about accepting and valuing yourself unconditionally, while self-confidence is believing in your abilities and worth. 

Self-love lays the foundation for self-confidence, as accepting and caring for yourself is the basis for believing in your abilities and having the confidence to pursue your goals and dreams. 

Both self-love and self-confidence are essential for personal growth and well-being.

Now, you see that these two are different from each other.

Isaiah 43:4

Self love and Christianity

In Christianity, the concept of self love can be a topic of varying perspectives and interpretations. While the Bible encourages believers to love others and prioritize selflessness, there can be a tendency in some Christian circles to view self-love in a negative light. 

One reason self love is sometimes frowned upon in Christianity is that it can lead to self-centeredness, arrogance, or prioritizing one’s desires above God and others. 

This concern stems from passages in the Bible that warn against selfishness and pride, such as Philippians 2:3, which encourages believers to consider others more important than themselves.

Also, the notion of self-denial is emphasized in Christianity, with Jesus’ teachings about taking our cross and following Him. This can create the perception that self-love conflicts with the call to self-sacrifice and the focus on serving God and others.

However, it is essential to understand that self-love does not contradict Christian principles when properly understood and practiced. It can even enhance your ability to love God and others effectively.

From a biblical perspective, self love that aligns with Christian values is rooted in recognizing your God-given identity and the price Christ paid for your life. 

This understanding of self-love will enable you to care for yourself in a healthy and balanced way, recognizing that your well-being matters to God and is essential for fulfilling His purpose.

Self love in the God way also allows you to care for your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, enabling you to serve others more effectively. It involves practicing self-compassion, forgiveness, and grace, understanding that we are imperfect beings needing God’s love and forgiveness.

Furthermore, self love within a Christian context can also include:

  • Loving yourself enough to pursue personal growth.
  • Believing in and using the talents and gifts God has given you.
  • Walking in obedience to His calling. 

It is not about selfish ambition or seeking personal gain but rather recognizing and embracing the unique identity and purpose that God has given each individual.

What does the Bible say about self love?

Here are some Bible verses that talk about self-love:

2 Timothy 3:2-5 KJV

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

2 Timothy 3:2‭-‬5 KJV

Matthew 22:37-39 KJV

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Matthew 22:37‭-‬39 KJV

Psalm 139:14 KJV

“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 KJV

Ephesians 5:29 KJV

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

Ephesians 5:29 KJV

What self love as a Christian means

As a believer, you have to understand that despite the controversies surrounding self love and Christianity, there are ways you can practice self-love and foster your relationship with God.

I believe the proper concept of self love as a Christian should be:

Loving God

Self-love as a Christian begins with loving God wholeheartedly. It involves cultivating a deep, intimate relationship with Him, acknowledging His love, and understanding your God-given identity. 

Loving God means prioritizing Him above all else, seeking to know Him through prayer, studying His Word, and engaging in worship. It also entails obeying His commandments and surrendering your life to His will. 

By loving God, you will recognize that your true value and purpose come from Him, and your self-worth is rooted in Him.

Loving who God created

Self-love as a Christian also involves loving who God created you to be. It means embracing your uniqueness, talents, and qualities. This love is not based on pride or comparison but on the understanding that God intentionally designed you with purpose and worth. 

By loving who God created, you will appreciate your strengths and accept your weaknesses, recognizing that God made you fearfully and wonderfully. 

This love allows you to walk confidently in your God-given identity, utilizing your gifts to honor Him and bless others.

Loving who God has created allows you to be kind to yourself and honor your body. This way, your sense of self-love will no longer be about you; it will be about glorifying God.

Loving others

Self-love as a Christian also goes beyond just focusing on yourself; it also extends to loving others. 

Jesus taught that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).

This implies that you must have healthy and biblical self-love to love others effectively. By understanding your worth and receiving God’s love in your heart, you can overflow with His love and extend it to those around you. 

Loving others involves showing kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and empathy. It means valuing others as fellow creations of God and seeking their well-being. This love inspires you to serve and meet the needs of others, just as Christ has loved you.

By embracing self love in a biblical way, you can experience a deep sense of fulfillment, live out your God-given purpose, and reflect His love to the world.

TWT Self Love

What It Doesn’t Mean to Practice self love as a Christian

Here is what self love doesn’t mean for you as a Christian:

Selfish

Self-love as a Christian doesn’t mean being selfish or self-centered. It’s not about prioritizing your desires and interests above others. Instead, it involves having a balanced perspective that sees yourself and others through the eyes of Christ.

Self-worship

Self-love as a Christian doesn’t mean worshiping yourself or elevating your importance above God or others. It’s not about becoming self-absorbed or seeking personal glory. Instead, it involves recognizing that your worth comes from God and directing your worship and devotion to Him alone.

Condescending

Self-love as a Christian doesn’t involve looking down on others. It’s not about thinking you are better than others or treating them with disrespect. Instead, it requires humility—recognizing that everyone is created in the image of God and deserving of equal love and respect.

Arrogance

Self-love as a Christian doesn’t promote arrogance or pride. It’s not about showing off your achievements or belittling others. Instead, it involves recognizing that all your abilities, talents, and blessings come from God and should be used to bring Him glory and serve others with humility.

Self-indulgence

Self-love as a Christian doesn’t endorse self-indulgence, pursuing pleasure at the expense of others, or disobedience to God’s principles. 

It’s not about indulging in harmful or sinful behaviors. Instead, it involves making choices that honor God, prioritizing His will and the well-being of others over temporary desires.

Body care

While self-love as a Christian involves valuing yourself, it doesn’t solely focus on physical appearance or excessively emphasize external beauty. 

Instead, it involves taking care of your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and practicing self-care that includes physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

How to love yourself the God-way

Here are some tips for you to love yourself the God way:

Receive God’s love in your heart

To love yourself the God way starts with receiving and accepting God’s love in your heart. Recognize that God loves you unconditionally and desires a relationship with you. Open your heart to His love, and allow His love to penetrate your heart and transform your perspective of yourself.

Know your God-given identity

Loving yourself the God way involves knowing and embracing your God-given identity. Seek to understand who you are in Christ and study the Scriptures to discover the truth about your identity and God’s promises. Recognize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, uniquely created for a purpose. Embrace your strengths, talents, and qualities as gifts from God, and humbly acknowledge your weaknesses, knowing that God’s strength is made perfect in your weaknesses.

Read and pray

Loving yourself the God way involves nurturing your relationship with Him by reading His Word and praying. Spend time in the Bible to gain wisdom, encouragement, and an understanding of God’s love for you. 

Let His Word guide and shape your thoughts and actions. 

In prayer, pour your heart out to God and express your joys, concerns, and desires. Seek His guidance and surrender your life to Him.

Continue with the Spirit

To love yourself the God way, rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment. 

Continually seek the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, allowing Him to lead, empower, and transform you. 

Surrender your desires, ambitions, and plans to God’s leading through the Spirit. Invite the Holy Spirit to shape your thoughts, attitudes, and actions, aligning them with God’s love and truth. 

As you walk in step with the Spirit, you will experience the fruit of the Spirit, which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

the round up

THE ROUND UP

As Christians, it is crucial to understand the relationship between self love and Christianity.

The Bible encourages us to have a healthy and balanced view of ourselves. It reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made with unique gifts, talents, and purposes. 

Self-love, in the context of Christianity, involves recognizing our inherent worth as children of God and embracing our identity in Christ. It is not about selfishness or narcissism but about accepting and loving yourself as God loves you.

Embracing self-love from a biblical perspective allows you to extend love, grace, and compassion to yourself and others. 

It also empowers you to care for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, understanding that you are a vessel through which God’s love can flow. 

It enables you to fulfill the commandment of loving others as yourself, as you are rooted in the truth of God’s love for you.

May your self-love be a testimony to the transformative power of God’s love in your life and draw others closer to Him.

How do you currently view and practice self-love in your life?

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