Is Self-Love Selfish?
Hello everyone! I bet you’ve been wondering, “where has Emily been, and what happened to her blog?” Well, I redesigned my blog and am now self-hosting it. I meant to tell you all about it in a post, but it failed to post correctly -_- Of course, the process was tedious and almost disastrous for my technically disadvantaged self. But the most important thing is that I’m back, and all of you lovely followers and readers are here with me!
I hope you all love the new look and easier navigation. While I still work on the nooks and crannies, please feel free to comment your thoughts. I’m so happy God has blessed me with such a great blogging community, and I look forward to bringing you some awesome new content!
While scrolling through social media, I recently read a post about how it’s wrong for Christians to love themselves. That we take the verse “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) a little too selfishly. After all, we are all selfish sinners who really should be less focused on us and more focused on Jesus.
Let me be clear, I do agree that everyone (myself included) is born a sinner and needs Jesus to save them. Only then can we become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). And of course I believe that we humans are naturally inclined toward selfishness. Our flesh wants what it wants, and that is how we stumble and fall. We need to die daily to our flesh, our wants, and our comforts in order to fully live by the Holy Spirit.
But here’s what a lot of people don’t understand: truly loving yourself also requires you to die to yourself. Before we became Christians and were lost in our sin, did we really truly love ourselves with the love that God has for us–the love we’re supposed to lavish on others? Of course not! We wouldn’t need Jesus if we could be Him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10 NIV).
The way we “love ourselves” in our flesh is selfish and twisted. We let sin run rampant because it feels good. We deny ourselves grace or treat it like it’s not even a sacred gift. Only with God can we truly learn to love ourselves. Once we realize how much He loves us and that He gave Himself up for us, only then can we see our true worth.
We are loved. We are called. Even in our brokenness and sin, God loves us just as we are (Romans 5:8). Now God is calling us to new heights. To realize our value and be confident in His perfect love. To walk in this love so all can see.
In one of my psychology classes, the professor once asked what the difference was between pride and self-esteem. This is the answer God led me to:
Pride is elevating yourself above God and above others. Self-esteem is realizing God’s sacrificial love for you and walking in this love. I don’t think the problem is that we love ourselves too much. We don’t even know what true love is without the Holy Spirit.
Is it love to chain ourselves up in our own sin and addictions? Is it love to destroy our bodies with self-harm or eating disorders? Is it love to take out our pain and anger on ourselves and those around us? Of course not! Now a lot of these things we cannot help–at least not in our own strength. We don’t know how to love ourselves because we are lost and broken.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8 NIV).
God is love. Jesus laid down His life on the cross for you and me. Walk in this love and freedom. You don’t have to seek love from other people or things. Jesus’ perfect love is enough. This love will free you to love yourself and others in Spirit and in truth. Don’t live how the world lives and don’t love how the world loves. Live and love with the boldness of Jesus.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share and comment. I love hearing from you 🙂
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Thanks for the great points and reminders of what love truly is – He is working well through you here.
As i see it (through a glass darkly) true love has to come from above us – the One who is above us – and we need to let it wash the weak fallible human love from our being every day we are on this earth.
Yes exactly! I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for all of your encouraging comments. It really means a lot to me. God bless you too! 😊
Congrats on the redesigned blog Emily! Maybe you’d teach me how to give it a shot. 😉 Yet another beautiful post this is on an issue that is so relevant today. I like how you differentiated between pride and self esteem. Yes indeed! we need to love like Christ does, not in the selfish manner most people portray self love as these days. Glad I got to read this! 🙂
I’m so glad you liked it! I think many of us don’t realize how selflessly God loved the world (even myself sometimes). As for teaching you…well I could try but let’s just say I’m technically challenged! I’ve had to email support techs more times than I can count!
Very true! And how can we “love our neighbor as ourself” if we do not love ourself?
Exactly! Once we realize how much God loves us, then we can begin to love ourselves. All that love will radiate to others as well 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
I like the quote the Lord gave you on self-esteem.
Thanks Beckie! It has definitely helped me 😊