Before I begin let’s note one thing. Lovers of (your own) self (only) and loving yourself are two different things.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy….
2 Timothy 3:2 KJV
Lovers of self and themselves only is how one is consumed with themselves and their desires only. They are selfish and always put their own desires and needs before others. In reality and biblically, sometimes you will have to consider others and their needs. And there will be times when you will put their needs before your own.
Another thing to look out for that is in line with lovers of self is the following. If you make yourself or your desires idols or are constantly obsessing over being and doing better, those too can be idolatry. There is a wearing ourselves out to get rich and for some wearing ourselves out to be better. Both can be weary, greed, and idolatry. And when we are trying to do things without God, over pursuing wealth or riches and “better” can consume us or weary us as well as can be a detriment to the people around us.
Now, it is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved, successful, wealthy, and/or the best versions of ourselves. But without God, it is futile. Obsessing and draining our very being to obtain such can wear on our souls and can lead us astray.
Your love for yourself should not put others in danger. It should not cause hurt. However, your love for yourself may challenge some people, especially those who are out to manipulate you or control you (and you don’t have to subject yourself to mental abuse). But, it should never danger someone or make someone feel they are an inconvenience or not worthy of love (agape) themselves. To further expound, your self love should neither be marked with pride and selfishness, nor lead you to hurt someone.
Furthermore, you should not obsess or worry about what others think. However, don’t shun away every criticism or perspective. Chew the meat and spit out the bones. Just maybe that person is not a hater. Just maybe they are bringing you the truth and in love.
Loving God and yourself are crucial because it helps you to love others from an adequate, good place, and with joy.
Loving yourself is commanded. It is imperative that you love yourself and through God’s truth and love. Learning to love yourself shows that you are learning to see yourself through God’s eyes, that you are learning to receive God’s love, that you are finally realizing your worth. Learning to love yourself moves you to set boundaries, do things more with the right motives, be unafraid to face yourself, love people properly, to not seek validation from man more than God, realize who you are in the Father, and carry yourself with dignity.
Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love as given to us in this Scripture: “You must love and value your neighbor as you love and value yourself!” For keeping this law is the noble way to live.
James (Jacob) 2:8 TPT
Think of how Jesus carried Himself, how He knew Himself, how he loved the Father and others, how He set boundaries and held to His standards.
God has given me grace to speak a warning about pride. I would ask each of you to be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance. Instead, honestly assess your worth by using your God-given faith as the standard of measurement, and then you will see your true value with an appropriate self-esteem.
Romans 12:3 TPT
So, go right ahead and learn to love yourself. Begin that healing journey. Don’t think only of yourself as 1 Corinthians 10:24 says. Dont think too high of yourselves but don’t think low of yourselves either. Ask God to see yourself through His eyes, His perspective. Don’t forget yourself. Practice self-care. Give attention to yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. Protect yourself and what God has placed within you. Be grateful and give yourself mercy. Allow God to show you how much He loves you and adores you.
Learning to love yourself is courageous. It is bold. It is freedom. And it helps you to provide love to others in a way that is authentic, meaningful and whole.
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I exhort you this week to ask God to help you to learn to love yourself and Him. And to receive His love for yourself. And to express it to others. May you feel safe, loved, and remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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