What Does the Bible Say about Loving Yourself?

Do we love ourselves Biblically? Do we Christians even understand what it means to love ourselves in accordance with the Bible?

Loving yourself Biblically is way different from what our culture says.

Today’s culture places extreme importance on self. There is great emphasis on self-will, self-love, self-satisfaction, and many more hyphenated terms beginning with self.

But true happiness and true joy have never been found by looking within. The Bible gives us the highest and best way to love ourselves.

Then what does the Bible Say about loving yourself?

According to the Bible, the greatest way to love yourself is to accept the free offer of salvation from the righteous and holy God who loved us and conquered sin and death forever for us.

Once we’ve done that, it becomes so much easier to follow God’s commands. Following God’s commands in his word leads to radical levels of life, love and joy!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28, ESV (emphasis added)

And how do we know that all things work together for good?

God sent his own son to sacrifice himself for us! His love for us is on display for eternity in the scars on the hands, feet and side and head of the Lord Jesus Christ! (See my post on INRI-the initials above Christ’s head on the cross and what they mean)

His love for us fills us with confidence! We are free from the self-loathing and fear that we see in the world around us –a world that is lost and dying and in need of saving.  

This love overflows from the heart of the spirit-filled believer from the love He has for us.

He has set us free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2, ESV) Death has lost its sting. So now we can stand boldly in the Day of Judgment (1 John 4:17, ESV) with the full confidence that “as he is, so are we in this world.”

I –the believer- am now righteous by faith. If God loves me, I can also love myself out of the confidence that comes from his love for me.

So Godly self-love comes from God’s love for us! But it remains a pure and different love than you see from the World, because the next part is that the Christian loves his neighbor as himself.

This is a whole different way of loving than you see from the World.

If God loves me, I can also love myself out of the confidence that comes from his love for me.

Even if you look at people who have accomplished much, or who have overcome great obstacles, the best things never come by putting yourself first.

We have some great examples to follow.

Consider Mother Teresa who famously gave everything she had to minister to the needs of the poor abandoned children in poverty-stricken Calcutta.

Saint Nicholas who gave so much to help his neighbors in need. Follow this link to my post on the surprising similarities and differences between Jesus Christ and Santa Claus!

Mother Teresa and Saint Nicholas are just two of countless examples.

The best things -and the best rewards- come to those who put others first. And it all begins with putting God first.

It’s all summed up by the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (see my post “Why is Jesus Called Christ?”) when he was asked by the teachers of the law to tell them the greatest commandment:  

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. 

Mark 12:30-31, ESV

Does God Tell Us to Love Ourselves?

It might be surprising to many Christians to learn that the Bible encourages us to love ourselves.

Many people believe that loving ourselves is an important part of living a happy and fulfilling life. But many of these sentiments are expressed by people who are not followers of the Lord.

So isn’t it important to know what the Bible –God’s Word- says on the matter?

Some people believe that we should love ourselves because it is an act of self-respect and self-care. Others believe it allows us to better love others.

And still others believe that we should love ourselves because it helps us to connect with God.

Whichever reason you choose to believe, there is no denying the fact that loving ourselves is an important part of our lives. We should all strive to find ways to love ourselves more each day.

 One of the most important things to remember is that there is a Godly way to love yourself, and it is far different from the world’s ideals.

The way the world defines love is not the way God defines it.

We also need to remember that God is love. (1 John 4:16)

Everything He does in His relationship with man is based on His love for us. Ultimately, He wants us to reflect this love in everything we do.

God is Love

Naturally, it is hard to believe that there are people who don’t love themselves.

But when we take a good look at what people do to themselves, and the kind of lives they live, we have to admit there are people who don’t have self-love.

People who abuse their bodies with harmful substances and harmful habits are not practicing Godly self-love.

The Bible talks about these people in the book of Romans.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21

Sometimes we see God’s instructions as burdens and unnecessary punishment, but they are for our good.

God’s instructions are meant to guide us out of ignorance into the knowledge of what we need to do to avoid evil and keep receiving God’s blessings.

This is the reason why He said “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

Whether we obey these instructions or not does not change God a bit. If the whole world decides to reject God and we join in with them, that does not make Him less Almighty.

Innumerable angels in heaven are giving Him perfect praise and worship that we cannot give here on earth, hence if we stop our praises we would be the losers.

In telling us to do His will, God is simply telling us to love ourselves.

Following Him is what will ensure that we keep getting His best. “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land.” Isaiah 1:19.

Those who continue to live in sin -and those who enjoy sinning- do not love themselves. They are preparing eternal damnation for themselves, and whatever results from that will be entirely their fault.

How Do You Love Yourself in a Godly Way?

In loving ourselves, anything short of love outside God’s way is not acceptable to God.

And what does this mean? God wants us to love ourselves, but we must do it the right way.

One common danger of self-love is that it can lead to the idea of self-righteousness. We often forget that we can never earn our way to righteousness.

Righteousness only comes from a holy and righteous God who declares the believer righteous.

And it is received by faith.

Those who selfishly love themselves will not see any reason to give their life to Christ. They will not find it convenient to do things God’s way.

They would rather do things their own way –and they think they can redeem themselves.

 Paul in the Bible commented on the way the Israelites decided to relate with God. He said,

“For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God.”

Romans 10:3

That became a serious problem for them because they could not meet God’s standards. God rejected Israel and paved the way for the salvation of the Gentiles.

To love ourselves in a Godly way, we must first accept ourselves for who we are. Accept the way God created you and everything that God ordained for you.

We must also remember that God’s thoughts toward us are of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope.

Accept the fact that whatever God chose for you is the best for your life, even though you may not understand it.

You should always strive to do what God loves. And God loves you!

You know how it is when you have a close friend. You love the things your friend loves and you hate the things your friend hates.

Friendship with God is a wonderful thing that pays big dividends!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23, ESV

Ultimately, you need to live a holy life and manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says, against such there is no law. When you live holy you set yourself up for receiving divine favor and great blessings from God.

You also make it impossible for the devil to manipulate your life.

You have victory over every sickness, poverty, and all evils. This is because God is for you so no one can be against you.

Because Joseph loved himself he decided to reject the advances of his master’s wife.

He could have followed her lead and hidden it perfectly, but he said, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” Genesis 39:9.

This shows us that Godly self-love really comes out of love for God.

“How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” -Joseph

Genesis 39:9, ESV

Daniel too refused to defile himself with the King’s meat and drinks which had been offered to idols.

He considered himself to be a vessel that had been dedicated to God and that he cannot share God’s temple -his body- with idols.

In the end, Daniel became the third-most important ruler in the kingdom-right behind the King and the Prince.

When we love ourselves in a Godly way there is no limit to what God can do with our lives.

Is Self-Love Important in Christianity?

Some Christians would say that self-love is selfish and prideful. But selfishness and pride are not Christian values and are not taught by the Bible.

Self-love is important in Christianity because it is the foundation of a healthy relationship with God. And man.

When we love ourselves by accepting the free gift of salvation, we can see ourselves as God sees us -as beloved children. This enables us to receive God’s love more fully and to love others more deeply.

There is no doubt that God loves us.

This He demonstrated before He created the first man. He purposed to make a special being, the closest to Him.

And He made man the most, intelligent, powerful, and most beautiful of all His creation.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Genesis 1:31, ESV

Though God called all other creatures into existence, He took time to create man. He formed him from the dust of the earth and breathed into him to make him a living soul.

God loved the result of what He did after completing the whole work of creation. The Bible says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

It is logical to say that we should love what God loves. If God loves us, then shouldn’t we love ourselves?

The Psalmist says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

Without love, we cannot appreciate the wonders and the beauty of God’s creation in our lives.

When you don’t love yourself you would wish that God had made you a fish, a bird, or a tree instead. But when you realize the great privilege you have to be created as a human, you will want to praise Him for it.

If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love and accept God’s calling for your life.

One of the reasons why people envy others is because they believe the people they envy have what they do not have. They hate themselves because they think they don’t have much, or that they have nothing.

That was the lot of the man that was given one talent in the Bible. He could not trade with it because he believed he deserved more than one talent.

Little did he know that his master intended to reward him the same measure as the man with ten talents if only he could have been faithful with what he was given.

He didn’t appreciate what he had, rather he wished he could be like others who have more. When we love ourselves we will appreciate the way God created us; white, black, tall, short, fat, thin, man, or woman.

Self-love can make us care about where we are going to spend eternity.

Why do people prepare for retirement? It is because they know that a time will come when they will not.be able to work anymore, yet they must have a means of sustenance.

Those who love themselves prepare well ahead for retirement, and they find out that the result is worthwhile.

Just like planning for retirement, we need to plan for where to spend eternity. If we spend the whole of our lifetime on earth for that it is worth it.

Bible Verses about Loving Yourself

Proverbs 19:8 ESV

Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV  

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Psalm 139:13-15 ESV

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Ephesians 5:29 ESV 

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

1 Timothy 4:12 ESV

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 John 3:1 ESV 

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 Peter 4:8 ESV  

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Romans 13:8-10 ESV

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Luke 6:27 ESV

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Leviticus 19:18 ESV

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Mark 12:31 ESV

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

John 13:34-35 ESV 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 John 4:19 ESV

We love because he first loved us.

1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Final Thoughts

The Bible says our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we should not defile it if we don’t want terrible consequences.

The temple in the Bible is the place where the presence of God dwells. God wants to dwell in our body to bring His purpose for us into fulfillment.

We cannot hate, reject, despise, or disregard what God loves, and what He holds with high esteem.

We are God’s creatures. From Him we have come, and unto Him we shall go at the end of our sojourning on earth.

He put us here and charted the course of our lives. Whatever He says about our lives and the world we are living in is the truth and the best for us.

God loves us so much that He wants us to live with Him forever in His kingdom. That is why He sent Jesus to come and die for us.

That is why He is preparing heaven for us.

If the King of kings should lavish His love so much on us, can we afford to reject such a love? You are important to God, do not sell out to the devil.

Love yourself, cherish your body, and give it the best that God has made available for you.

Is your Faith Founded on Fact? Have you committed to follow Jesus?

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