Do you love yourself? Are you taking care of yourself as one of God’s image-bearers? Do you feel guilty when you do something for you? Do you put everyone else first, even to the detriment of your spiritual and physical health? If you’re having trouble answering these questions or are unsure about the answers you’ve given, you’re in good company.
This is the second part of a series about Learning to Live Like Jesus. If you haven’t already, you can click here to read Part I: Momma, Are You Mad?
What Does the Bible Say About Loving Yourself?
Love is a central theme in the Old Testament and New, especially in the teachings of Jesus. But the Bible never once tells us to love ourselves. We are told to “love one another” in John 13:34-35 and to “love your neighbor as your love yourself” in Leviticus 19:18. The Old Testament command, however, cannot be taken as a command to love yourself, rather, it assumes we already do.
But do we?
I know we all can think of that person that seems to really, really love themselves and thinks everyone should love them as much as they love them–which is too much! I’m not talking about sinful, self-centered arrogance. That’s the opposite of what I’m talking about.
Here’s what I’m asking:
Do you love yourself in a biblical, God honoring, abundant-life-giving way?
Here’s why I’m asking:
I’ve seen a trend among believers (myself included) that implies it’s wrong to love yourself. To surrender all, die to self, lay down your life, lose your life to find it, and esteem others better than yourself—-to be a Christ follower—means you shall not, must not, love yourself.
We’ve redefined Christianity and discipleship as some watered-down, first-world martyrdom where we’re busy, tired, and spiritually malnourished. It’s a way a life that creates a monster of self-pity, bitterness, and resentment.
There’s nothing spiritual about not loving yourself. As a matter of fact, I believe it’s a sin.
We should love ourselves. God created us and loves us—you and me—with an unconditional, everlasting love. If God loves us and considers us worth pursuing then should we not love and value ourselves as well.
I say “Yes”!
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3
Why I’m Putting Myself First and Why You Should Put Yourself First, Too
You and I are created by God in His image for His purpose.
With His help, I’m learning what it means to live and love and work the way Jesus did to the glory of God.
We quote “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14) as a value statement about our children and to encourage a friend.
But do we really believe it about ourselves? Does the way we care for ourselves reflect our belief?
Maybe for you it does.
But my good and loving Father showed me that you and I don’t always love ourselves in a way that:
- honors Him as Creator—“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
- reflects His grace—“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
- is worthy of an heir with Christ—“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:1
- is worthy of an image-bearer— “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Genesis 1:26
- is fit as the temple of God— “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” I Corinthians 6:19
- equips us for His purpose– “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).
See there? Six biblical reasons why I’m putting myself first and why I think you should put yourself first, too.
But, maybe you’re still not convinced. Does saying, “Me, first!” still feel selfish and unchristian to you? I understand. I felt that way for a long, long time and it can be selfish if said and carried out in the wrong way with the wrong motives.
So in the next post I’ll share what it looks like every day to put “Me, First” and how it’s changed my life.