What Does The Bible Say About Loving Myself?

Itunu of Glowing scenes shared this post on her blog from Tiwa, a young lady I admire. She talked about loving self and it’s really deep, you should read it.

I commented on the post on how to love ourselves, and glowing scenes replied. I commented again but still had lots of questions rolling in me, and a big part of the question was “Should we love ourselves too or only love our neighbours?”
So I thought, why don’t I read my Bible, pray, research on this and really find out how it should be?
First of all, is there a place in the Bible that tells us to love ourselves? No, there’s no specific instruction in that respect but Matthew 22:39(Amplified) says-
love your neighbour as you DO yourselves.”
As you do what to yourselves is the question? Obviously, love is the topic there so it’s as we DO love ourselves.
Now, if I tell you to sing to me as you sing to yourself, I am assuming that you already sing to yourself…
So if Jesus says you should love others as you love yourself, what is the assumption there? (You can answer this for yourself)

Another question there is, do we indeed love ourselves like that passage assumes that we do? And if we do, what indeed is the right way to love ourselves?

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It is however important that we recognise the kind of love the Bible refers to in Matthew 22:29, so that we don’t take things out of context.
There is a love which entails pride and selfishness and idolatry and which prevents us from becoming saved because we are too proud to submit to Jesus Christ. A love of the kind of life the world gives. This is the kind of love Jesus refers to in John 12:25 when he says…
“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”
Loving our neighbour’s is also mighty important but the love this article will dwell on here is love of ourselves, of who we are in Christ, of the person God has made us in Him. We cannot separate love from the God who is love Himself.

I think we have to understand that when God refers to love, loving our neighbour as ourselves, He does not refer to the kind of love that the world posits. He refers to the God kind of love and where can we find this? 1corinthians 13. (whip out your Bibles dears)

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And that is the love I want to dwell on today; the 1Corinthians 13 kind of Love. The God kind of love.
If you love yourself with the God kind of love, all the attributes of the God kind of love applies to you.
And the God kind of love would entail our loving ourselves the way God loves us. He loves us like crazy but hates the sin in us and at the same time prunes us to be better.
He loves us even while we were yet sinners but also desires to see us leave sin behind and grow in fullness in Him.
If we love ourselves even as He loves us, if we imitate Christ in the way He loves us, do you think we would self-hate ourselves the way we do?
Do you think that people will have suicidal thoughts, low self esteem issues and be depressed if they love themselves the way God wants them to?

Don’t you think we will then see the amazing and perfect workmanship that God sees us to be?

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So, yes I believe that we have to love ourselves, but not with the worldly kind of love that places us above every other person, I refer to loving yourself with the God kind of love in 1Corinthians 13 so we can give same to our neighbour.

Now, if you are to replicate the God kind of love, you won’t self hate who you are now, you would love you as God loves the who you are now, but also love you enough to continue to prune you to be better.

I also found out that a big part of the controversy regarding self love is the fact that people think that self loving ourselves makes us selfish. But like I have said before, the love we refer to here is the God kind of love and that love isn’t selfish. As a matter of fact, you are not loving yourself like you should by God’s standards if you put yourself first…
So yes, if I love myself, with the God kind of love, that love would not put me before all others.

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Loving yourself also doesn’t mean placing your own interest above all others… it is learning to love you as God says you should so you can also give out such love to others.
If I am not kind to me, I won’t be kind to you.
If I am not patient with me, I won’t be patient with you.
If I don’t love me with the God kind of love I won’t love you with the God kind of love.
It doesn’t take a genius to decipher that I can’t give you what I don’t have. I cannot love you if I do not love me. Why? Because I don’t even know what love is supposed to be.
It is just the way it works.

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So look at that verse closely…Love your neighbour as you DO yourself…
Don’t you think that that we have to love ourselves (remember not the worldly love but God’s love) before we can adequately love our neighbour too?
If you do not have the God kind of self-love for yourself, how can you give it out to others?

If I am to love my neighbour the way I love myself, but then I do not know how to love myself, if I hate myself and who I am, do you think that Jesus would want me to love my neighbour with that kind of love?
Don’t I have to have an encounter with the God kind of love first?

The world thinks that loving yourself means that you should place yourself above others but God kind of love says you won’t “Be me first”.
So who will you place first then?
For me? It means placing God first. I will love myself enough to want the best for me and seek to place the interest of my heavenly father above my own because His thoughts of me are better than my own thoughts anyway.
I will love myself enough to place God first because He knows what’s best for me… Ultimately, placing Him first does me good and good is what I will want for myself if I love myself the way God says I should (I hope this makes sense)

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So to me, loving myself is not being classified in line with what the world defines. I will strive to love myself but only with the God kind of love and the focus doesn’t end on me, I also love myself so that I can also give this love out to my neighbours.
I am not thinking with the way the world thinks when I say I will love myself, I am thinking in line with the kind of love God wants me to have in me, for me and for others.

 

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This also means that I won’t be selfish, I won’t seek to insist on my own rights, I will put my neighbour’s right above mine? Why? Because all those make me a better person and I love myself enough to want myself to be a better person.
I love myself the way God loves me, enough to hate the sin in me but not to hate myself and enough to want to make myself a better person the only way I can which is through Jesus Christ.
I imitate Christ in the way He loves me and not what the world preaches about loving me.
I love me as 1corinthians 13 says and not as the world thinks.

This about sums all what I have been trying to say…
“You must love one another out of obedience to God, which cannot be done outside of experiencing God’s love yourself in the first place and accepting what that love reveals about yourself.” ~from http://www.gotquestions.org/self-love.html#ixzz3EJEHccIS

For more on loving yourself God’s way, you can read this article from Joyce Meyer – http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=worthless_worthy_how_do_you_see_yourself

You can also read this article I stumbled on online – http://achristian.wordpress.com/2006/12/11/why-does-the-bible-say-to-love-yourself/

 

Prayer: Thank You God for bringing your word to me today. Thank You for your love for me. Help me see myself the way You see me. Help me love myself the way You love me. I can’t give any love away until I first receive it for myself. I receive Your love. And help me to love my neighbours in the way you want me to, In Jesus name, Amen.

 

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Did today’s Rhema for today make any sense at all?
What do you think about self love? What do you think about loving ourselves with the God kind of love versus the world kind of love?
Do you think we are even supposed to love ourselves at all?
Do leave a comment below and let’s discuss.
It’s a Bible study, let’s all learn from each other some more.

 

Happy Indepence day fellow Nigerians!

And oh, just a few things…

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Love,
Frances

Hi there! I’m Frances Okoro. Lawyer, Author, Speaker and Social Entrepreneur who uses her gift of writing on here to draw lives to Jesus.
I hope something on the blog blesses you and draws you even closer to Him.
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34 Comments

  1. I don’t know how self-love is defined.

    I do love myself the best way I know how
    I am not an expert on love. I love myself enough to believe what God says about me and act on what God says about me.

    I love myself enough to avoid or remove myself from abusive situations and to invest in healthy relationships. I love myself enough to set boundaries in relationships and trust God for direction, for instruction and for perfection.

    There’s a place where the bible says, take heed to thyself.

    I’m gentle and soft spoken but I fight for faith, I am aggressive about faith but I do the best in me to love others the way God wants. I don’t always get it right but I know the responsibility rests on my shoulders to make the right decisions for me, knowing that every decision has a result. I trust God for step by step guidance and grace to accomplish all He has for me in Jesus name, amen

    I believe that destiny is bigger than relationships. I have the courtesy of still having my family. Some ‘lot’ -like people you will have to let go of to enter destiny. Love them like Abraham did, he still rescued Lot even when he would have said, Lot, it is your ‘toro’. Don’t love your family so much you don’t leave Haran when God has said you should.

    Does it make sense?

    I do my best to walk in love jare!

  2. Yes, it does make sense to me theresa..thank you for sharing what self-love means to you with us.
    And I love the way you ended it all, we just have to do our best to walk in love, in God’s kind of love even when our human minds don’t want to…

    I appreciate your stopping by.

  3. So I studied about love two days ago and I found out a couple of things, but this rhema is on a different level and very insightful.but this is what I think sha. I have struggled with self doubt since I was little but lately I have come to realize one thing, self acceptance is a journey worth taking. If we hate others and claim to love God we lie. Since we are all created in the image and likeness of God I must love myself and hence others around me, but the God kind of love and its easy to do because God has poured his love into our hearts Rom 5:5-8. I have got self love. Thanks for this frances. This is my first time here and I will be sure to stick around.
    Eden Sue recently posted…Engaged, Inspired, and Ready to Build a Better WebMy Profile

  4. Thank you Eden Sue… you are very right, if we rely on God’s love that has been she’d abroad in our hearts then the true meaning of loving others and ourselves will be made known to us.

    And like you, I too struggled with self-doubt for a while,it was only in God that I truly found myself.

    I mega appreciate your comment, will be looking forward to your sticking around. Welcome…!
    Frances Okoro recently posted…What Does The Bible Say About Loving Myself?My Profile

  5. A lot of people say: ‘I love me’, but its so cliche…because not everyone loves themselves.

    Self love to me is the force from within that pushes you, that motivates you, encourages you and reminds you of who you are in Christ…who can remind you of God’s promises if not you? And we need this to survive…self love enables us to listen to the whispers in our heart before going out there…inasmuch as we should validate the worth of others, we must take time to affirm our own personality and self development…loving ourselves should never be an optional accessory. Like Jesus said ‘love your neighbour as yourself..’, if you cannot realize and appreciate the gifts you possess within how can you give it out? In order to truly give, you must appreciate what you’ve got! Self love has to do with embracing ourselves, and with that we’ll be truly effective in loving others…I could say more, but I don’t wanna bore you 🙂

    But in all, there should be a balance, loving yourself doesn’t mean you should be self centered and be in self denial…NO, but appreciating yourself even while you remain selfless

    New post on the blog »»Ujesta.blogspot.com

  6. I think of the Holy Spirit who sheds abroad d love of God in our hearts. U can’t help loving yourself when u know Him cos he’ll ensure it. Wake u every morning n tell u how beautiful u r, pat your back when no one else will. I mean He even reads my posts and gives d thumbs up b4 any one else (or thumbs down as d case may be, lol). You can’t have such a powerful cheerleader n hate yourself. No matter how hard u try or how u remind him of your sins, He just smiles. Gotta love this God
    Dr. N recently posted…Wedding Diaries 2.My Profile

    • I so love the angle you came from Dr N and more still, it’s the absolute truth!
      If we also realize just how much God adores us, and if we are sensitive to the Spirit + have a good relationship with him,there’s no way we will be down! Why? He will be reminding us ofall that We’re in christ time and time again.

      I especially love the part about Him even reading our posts! OmG! That’s Rhema for me too right there…been working on a post on tips for Christian bloggers and I will surely be adding that bit. thanks ma’am
      Frances Okoro recently posted…What Does The Bible Say About Loving Myself?My Profile

  7. ‘Self love’ has been so misused, I prefer not to use it at all. Your post captures my understanding perfectly and that quote from Maya Angelou cinched it for me.

    Love God, love others, love yourself.

    • Thanks Jite…
      And I agree that self love has been so misused, but not using it at all may mean that peeps minds can still be twisted into not thinking that they are worth enough for God himself to love them… they won’t know that if the ama-mazing God thinks them good enough to be loved, then why can’t they be good enough for themselves?

      I think everyone just needs to understand love from what God intends it to be. Both love for God, love for their neighbours and themselves… it would water down a whole lot of the misrepresentations we have today.

  8. Funny enough, we’re saying something similar and it’s good that you emphasized the difference between the God kind of love and the worldly kind of love and so I guess that’s where the misunderstanding came in. When you start seeing how much God loves you, then there’s no way you wouldn’t love yourself and who he’s making you become. The new creature in Christ. As for those people with the suicidal thoughts, I think it’s due to forgetfulness(if they’re christians) and hence are overwhelmed by the world and (for unbelievers) because the lies the enemy feeds them that they are worth nothing. Yes, we start seeing ourselves as precious as God made us to be when He sent Jesus…God in flesh coming to atone for our sins, ah! That’s enough to make yourself walk in love especially if we can keep reminding ourselves through the word of God. We were bought at a price so we must have been special nau..wink* I guess I was trying to state my opinion against the worldly set of view about Love like Tiwa stated. You tell people to love themselves the way they are without God who is love HIMSELF and you set out in endangering a whole specie of humans who will resist change. The evidence is what we see in today’s society. People wallowing in sin and rather than confess that they can do it through Christ that strengthens them and because they have been saved by Grace, they’d rather tell you no one is perfect and keep living the mediocre life.

    I get the amplified version too and even Jesus said it that Love God first, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these hang the law and the prophets. Who is our neighbour? The story of the Samaritan was told to show that anybody can be our neighbour. There’s no way you can even Love God and not love yourself. It goes so much deeper. Thanks Frances 🙂
    glowingscenes recently posted…Frank Peretti’s ‘The Visitation’ ReviewMy Profile

    • Wow!
      I admit, I have been looking forward to your comment Itunu… I saw only the “lol at let everyone else rot” at first and my face fell..
      I just read your comment twice now and I will read again…

      I did talk on the 1corinthians 13 way of loving ourselves on Tiwa’s post though but I guess it wasn’t well structured/detailed..

      I think it’s really sad that people, even me could walk with feelings of not feeling worthy when we’ve been redeemed with a price so high by the son of God himself..truly, ignorance is a huge part of this and I pray everyone really comes to know that love, love for our neighbours and love for self cannot begin without God who is love Himself…

      Thank you for commenting, I’ve been watching the comment section to learn more from everyone..

      And yes, as I studied, I also realized that the whole love thingy, the God kind of love, it is deep, real deep..its something I hope to continue to learn from God’s feet about.

    • Wow!
      I admit, I have been looking forward to your comment Itunu… I saw only the “lol at let everyone else rot” at first and my face fell..
      I just read your comment twice now and I will read again…

      I did talk on the 1corinthians 13 way of loving ourselves on Tiwa’s post though but I guess it wasn’t well structured/detailed..

      I think it’s really sad that people, even me could walk with feelings of not feeling worthy when we’ve been redeemed with a price so high by the son of God himself..truly, ignorance is a huge part of this and I pray everyone really comes to know that love, love for our neighbours and love for self cannot begin without God who is love Himself…

      Thank you for commenting, I’ve been watching the comment section to learn more from everyone..

      And yes, as I studied, I also realized that the whole love thingy, the God kind of love, it is deep, real deep..its something I hope to continue to learn about from God’s feet.

  9. Nice post.

    When I was a child, I learned that loving others as much as we loved ourselves meant we had to love ourselves first and that to love from any place other than a heart full of gratitude for who God had made us and how God loved us was hypocritical. Fast forward to adult hood and my battle with approval Addiction and I realised that I was often dry and stretching beyond my elastic limit because I had forgotten the concluding part of Jesus’ ‘love your neighbour instruction which I learned as a child. I was so concerned with loving everyone else and getting them to approve of me that I failed to love myself. Then I learned that balance was necessary. I learned that simple obedience to God ensured that I truly loved myself and then others. So its vertical, i love God cos He loved me and then from there I can show love horizontally to others. And when i love Jesus, its impossible to be self centred cos His love is so rich and full, i cant even hoard it. Reason i check myself once i get overly critical or struggle to love, something has gone wrong in my vertical connection. Whoosh long comment! Forgive me.

    • Nope, thank you for the long comment..i want the long comments, I need to learn more and it has been enlightening to see the view of others…

      I can so relate with loosing sight of how we should love God,love our neighbours and ourselves when we crave acceptance and approval of people so much so that we forget that love can only come from God and God is love. We shouldn’t be looking elsewhere for love, we should start from where it begins and make the “vertical connection”..
      I have lost sight of this so many times before, thank you for the tip of checking ourselves each and everytime.

      Thanks Eloxie

  10. Very rich post and rich comments. While many problems stem from selfishness and people being lovers of themselves, lack of self love is also the root of so many other problems and issues. The need to love oneself cannot be over emphasised, a healthy kind of love, the one that comes from knowing the king of the universe loves you eternally. It makes you accept yourself the way you are while seeking to grow and be a better you. It makes you secured in who you are and then you can reach out to others and love them too. What more is there to say? All the comments so far mirrors my thoughts. We need to love God because he loves us perfectly, we need to love ourselves because God believes we are worth loving and we need to love others because Jesus died for them too.

    • And I need to frame your comment as one of those “go-to-words” when I need to clarify somethings…
      I can’t count the number of issues that stem from lack of self-love, lots and lots of stuff that can just be prevented if we could only just open ourselves to the God kind of love… I do pray God opens our eyes to see more and understand more as we learn about what love really means.

      Thank you for stopping by Tunrayo

  11. Hey Frances,
    here is Sabba 😉 Thx for your balanced write-up and mentioning this important topic!

    Here is my opinion:
    I think it is very important that people learn to accept themselves the way God made them. People need a firm identity, rooted in Christ. Otherwise they will be too insecure and weak to navigate through life. So yes, self-love is important.

    BUT that being said I think MOST times (not all times) people love themselves TOO much. Think about it. Almost all sins can be traced back to self-love. Always fighting in an argument? Well maybe because you love YOUR opinion too much. Cheating on your wife? Maybe because you don’t consider your wive’s feelings, you only think about YOUR pleasure. Spending too much $$ on nonsense you don’t need instead of helping others? Maybe because you love YOUR comfort and your life too much. Spending 3 hours in front of the mirror just to impress others? 2 hours worrying what other people might think about you? Well… maybe you’re too pre-occupied with your self.

    I myself am too preoccupied with myself. When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts usually go to myself: my life, my tasks, my feelings, my worries. I have to repent of my selfishness and ask God to help me see Him and see others.

    In all, let us remember Jesus:

    “3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2)

    • Sebba Sebba!
      Thank you so much for this balanced view…I am struck with the desire to do a check on myself each and everytime.. to find the balance in loving myself the way God wants me to and also not to put my selfish desires above all others..to rise above the “me me syndrome”.
      Truly, this can be a bit tricky but thank you for the Bible passage you shared, the deal is to be like Jesus even in this…with the help of the Spirit,it is doable

      Truly, your comment and all comments on this have really been enlightening.

  12. Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other. (‭John‬ ‭13‬:‭34-35‬ MSG)

    And how does Jesus love us, unconditionally. God exists outside of time, He knows you, all of you. All that you have done, all that you’re doing and all you’d ever do and still in Romans 8:38-39 he said nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Likewise in the same way, let us love one another and yes practice 1st John 3. It isn’t easy but that is where God’s strength is made perfect in us, in our weakness.

    • And i forgot to add the part about loving yourself, i got carried away *covers face*. I do believe that it is impossible to not love yourself when you realise the amount of love that God has for you. When you realise that God loves you irrespective of your flaws, your wrongs, your rights, that He sees you as perfect in Christ, a masterpiece made in His image, not loving yourself would be an impossibility. In that same light, love Your neighbours the same way God loves you.
      Ochuko A. Akpomudjere recently posted…Great NationMy Profile

  13. I have often pondered on the verse you shared Ochuko..
    Like, the healing that men may do do not show that they are God’s disciples? The tongues, visions…none of those but love, plain, true the God kind of love?
    But ofcourse that is it, it’s the love that saved us from sin, everything is built on it..ofcourse.

    Well, i’m getting carried away with that command too,its just something I medidate on from time to time..and the love referred to there,its indeed not easy like you said but through God,it can be done.

    As for self-love too, you are right, a whole new dimension is usually opened to me when I think in line with how God loves me. The scales of “not been enough” just fall through and I learn/i am still learning to see myself just like God sees me…

    Long reply but your comment brought this on.lol
    Thank you
    Frances Okoro recently posted…What Does The Bible Say About Loving Myself?My Profile

  14. I have come to the understanding that real love stems from the one who is love Himself-God. So everyday, It’s a fresh experience of how God loves me and sees me. But before this new experience of seeing myself as He sees me, my ‘self-love’ was deficient, because every time, I did not meet up, I beat myself up real good. But with a fresh understanding of His love, when I fall, I am reminded that-this is just the human nature, and that He sees me not from my failings but from the triumphs he has called forth from my failings. So basically, learning love at His feet has made me understand that, in loving Him first, I can love myself and then others perfectly. So, perfect love comes from God. And I believe that a person that has not come into the knowledge of God, cannot really love himself/herself or others. If we are to truly love ourselves, we must learn from love Himself-God. The world kind of love cannot perfectly teach us how to love ourselves or others. It is too imperfect to do such. Just my 2cents! Hehehehe

    And Yes! This Rhema made a lot of sense. God bless you.

    • And your two cents was worth a lot Precious..
      Thank you.indeed we can only learn about what love is from the feet of God-only in Him can we truly get the meaning of love.

    • Welcome Atinuke!
      And truly, knowing what the God kind of love indeed is for ourselves enables to share that same love to our neighbours just as it should be.
      Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

  15. I have struggled with loving myself for most of my life. Always comparing myself with just about everyone! I will be 40 this year and it is high time I Love myself. As I read this post, It made me think of my own walk with Christ. By this I mean, if I profess to Love God, but cannot love his creation, someone who He gave His one and only Son for, then what does that say about my definition of love? If I can’t love the creation, how then can I truly love the creator? For example, if we have a favorite artist or author, they have usually become our “favorite” because we first loved the work of art or the story that they created. So, I ask myself, if I can “love” something that was created by human hands, why can’t I LOVE someone whom was fearfully and wonderfully knit together by THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING? After all, isn’t GOD the Master Artist and the Author of this story that I call “my life”?

    • This is just you seeing through the eyes of God Margaret.
      Read Psalm 139 and you’ll see the worth God places on us, the way He knitted us together in our mother’s womb, the way He stays with us and thinks even our thoughts precious… He made us and loves us wholly.

      I pray this truth continues to be ingrained in your heart in Jesus name, amen!

      Sorry about my really late reply…just getting to this now.
      *love and hugs*
      Have a glorious day ahead 🙂

  16. I really enjoyed your article!!! Very inspiring if you don’t mind I would love yo share this with my women’s inspiration circle. This has really touched my soul. Our topic is love thyself. Visit our site. womensinspirationcircle.com

  17. God bless you Frances. I stumbled on your blog and have silently been reading and digesting the great things shared and discussed here. I also love how similar minded bloggers e.g gabbyspeaks, doctorkanayo etc also comment and leave links to their blog sites. My time surfing the net is much more worthwhile (a great distraction from gossip blogs and the like). God bless you dear, He’s so proud of you and is smiling at you right now and always, like the proud Father He is to you. Keep growing in grace and virtue.

    • Awwww, thank you so much Sunshyne…
      that’s the aim…that people will come in to see TRUTH even online…God’s word spread out for all to see.
      Thank you so much for taking time out to speak/write words of encouragement.
      God bless you!

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