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Why Self Love Is Not Biblical | a Christian Perspective

Updated: Nov 14, 2023



The whole self-love movement kind of rubs me wrong.


Don't get me wrong, I 100% support and encourage boundaries, priorities, and taking care of yourself. We are the Holy Spirit's temple, and so we can't just neglect what our body or our heart needs. On my letterboard, I have written "take care of your heart", as wise Aunt Susie once told me.

But I don't support or encourage putting yourself above everyone else, focusing solely on yourself, or believing that if you love yourself enough, you will be fulfilled.


It honestly kind of upsets me whenever I see other Christians preaching "self love" because if we could love ourselves enough, what was the point of the cross? What was the point of Jesus' unending, constant love for us? Why do I need Jesus then? Why do I need the community Christ has called me to be in, if I'm just supposed to focus on myself and love myself?


I wouldn't need any of that, because according to the world, "self love" will make me happy, and I won't need anyone else because I only need to focus on myself, and that's where I'll find my fulfillment.

Okay, maybe that's not exactly what everyone is posting, but that's what it's implying. I did a quick Google search on self love, and a million definitions came up, from "an appreciation of one's own worth and value", "owning our inner and outer beauty and complimenting ourselves without feeling guilty, arrogant, or entitled," and "synonymous with conceitedness, egotism and narcissism".


Dictionary.com puts it into perspective by saying that self love is: "the instinct by which one's actions are directed to the promotion of one's own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one's own advantage" or even "conceit; vanity."


I don't think that's actually love, friends. 1 Corinthians 13 says that love is not proud and is not self-seeking, and that's what this "self love" sounds like. Countless times the Bible states that selfishness, vanity, and conceitedness are sins, and they are all sneaky footholds of the devil.


I don't say this out of condemnation or judgement, though. I say this because, as Christians, we are not called to just "go with the flow" and concede to whatever the world is following at the time. We are called to live our lives radically different, focused on Christ and the plans He carefully designed for us.


The thing is, God doesn't call us to just neglect ourselves or think horribly about ourselves. No, He calls us to walk in the identity that He gives us when we choose to follow Him. He calls us loved, chosen, righteous, holy, even beautiful, but ALL of those things are focused on Him. We aren't loved because of who we are, we're loved because of who He is . We aren't chosen because of anything we've done, but because of everything He's done. We aren't righteous or holy because we could achieve it, but because we couldn't, so Christ paid the price for us to be redeemed. We aren't beautiful because of our appearance, but because of who our Creator is.


That's the major difference. Instead of a self love identity, where everything is focused on "me me me", we have a godly identity, focused on Christ, everything He's done, and what that means for us.


That is not only healthier and biblical, it also enables us to love on other people.


When the world tells us to put ourselves first, that's implying that no one else really matters as much as we do. It's implying that we don't need to prioritize loving other people because we need to focus on ourselves instead.


That is absolutely not biblical. The two most important commandments are "love God" and "love people", and it's very, very hard to separate the two. This idea of loving ourselves above everyone else is literally disobeying one of the most important things God has called us to do.


Again, this doesn't mean that you let everyone walk all over you. Of course, set up boundaries and love people in a healthy way. But through Christ, when our identity is truly rooted in Him, He fuels and enables us to love the people He has put in our life. Through Christ, we don't have to become drained when we pour into people, but instead do that through Christ's strength instead of our own. When we replace this self love ideology with the Christian faith, we aren't walking into a toxic, always giving, always draining situation, but instead a fulfilling, freeing lifestyle of grace and love - again, fueled by Christ.


The thing is, Christ isn't asking us to do anything that He didn't do Himself.


Jesus served His family, friends, community, and even strangers with a selflessness that the world had never seen before. He went out of His way to pour into people that no one else would, and He made intentional connections with those in His circle. He put others first, consistently and purposefully. But He also took the time to withdraw from crowds and simply be with His Father. When He found Himself getting overwhelmed, overstimulated, or drained, He didn't resort to just loving Himself, He ran towards God, and that's how He was sustained and fulfilled.


We can be sustained and fulfilled in the very same way, if we only set aside these self love beliefs and instead walk with the Lord and rely on Him for our identity and our strength.

 

Friends, you don't have to try to "love yourself". Please don't put yourself above everyone else in search for fulfillment, or perhaps out of hurt. This Christian walk is the exact opposite of what the world preaches at us, but that doesn't mean it's a bad way. When you lean into the Lord for His strength and truth, you'll find yourself walking in more joy and peace than ever before than when you tried to do it all on your own. Rely on His love for you, instead of your own love for yourself, and then use that to love the people around you, just as He calls you to.


What are your thoughts and convictions on self love? Is there any part of your identity in Christ that is even better than the identity the world says you have? Let me know in the comments below, I love to hear from you!

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