We live in a culture of self-love.
2 Timothy 3:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
We are taught to worship ourselves and to treat anything and anyone who steps in the way of us having all we want all the time as an enemy. The world is consistently trying to deceive us into following our heart as though our heart is the truest and most reasonable thing to follow.
Jeremiah 17:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
I heard a preacher once say, “the word self-esteem isn’t in the bible, but the bible does say to esteem others above yourself”. He was of course referring to any one of a number of scriptures
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
There’s actually several scriptures teaching about the dangers of self-worship and of taking the love of self too far, but we are however left asking, is there a biblically upheld principal to love oneself?
Honestly speaking I’d never thought about it more than the above quote. It made perfect sense to me that loving myself wasn’t really a particular point to be interested in. It seemed totally logical that if I simply esteemed others higher than myself and they did the same, it wouldn’t really matter. I saw scripture such as:
Proverbs 27:2 Praise should come from another person and not from your own mouth, from a stranger and not from your own lips.
Love and praise regarding myself, I felt could come from others although honestly, and sometimes to the annoyance of fellow Christians, even when praise would come from the lips of others I would still simply point to God and take no credit. Fearing that I would unjustly be taking praise from the lord, id simply say it was God. I felt, and still do feel comfortable with that.
Recently, however, during a preaching series about love I was involved with at my home church I began to think about the wording of some scriptures.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
Proverbs 19:8 To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.
I started to wonder to myself if there was a place not for the kind of selflove we see all day in the world where we set ourselves up at the center of our own kingdom. And not the sort where we set ourselves up in the center of Gods plan as though he really did everything for just us and everyone else is simply a beneficiary of the love God had for use alone. Maybe however a simple acknowledgment of the idea that God himself placed great value on each of us in so far as even though the universe revolves around God and not any one of us, not even all of us all together but the around whom the universe does in fact rotate holds each of us in his heart and calls us precious.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love for us even when we were dead because of our offenses, made us alive together with the Messiah (by grace you have been saved.)
God loved us enough while we were his enemies. When we were in outright rebellion against him, he at that point came and gave his sons life as a payment for us.
1 Corinthians 6:20 (AMP)
You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.
This is the value which god has placed on me and on you and everyone else.
More than this however I just kept seeing this idea repeated in scripture.
Read Part 2