(The following article was written by my father some thirty years ago while he was preaching for the Burbank Road congregation in Wooster, Ohio. During the Covid-19 shut down many people are encouraging others to take care of themselves. The Bible implies that if we really love one’s self we will not only do what is best for ourselves but what is best for others. Keep in mind while loving self means we will take care of our physical health and Christian’s top priority in loving self will always focus on one’s spiritual health).
Loving One’s Self
Self love is not a love that is condemned in the Bible. Self-love is actually very important for a Christian. When I talk about self love, I am not referring to lovers of themselves. Paul condemns this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Lovers of themselves seek only those things that please them (Phil. 2:21). Nor is this referring to the mere love of life. There is more to self than physical life (Jn. 12:25,26). To love is to do what is best.
True Self Love
Self love is mentioned in the New Testament. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor “as thyself” (Mt. 22:37-39; 19:19). Paul and others taught this same commandment (Rom. 13:9; Js. 2:8). Paul tells us that the law is fulfilled in this command (Gal. 5:14) and that “husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies, he who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph. 5:28).
To have self love is to be concerned with your own well being. If you did not love your self you would not take care of your self. You would not care about what other people thought about you. You would not care about your soul.
The problem with self love is that we really do not know what is best for ourselves. Even as Christians, we have a tendency to be deceived as to what is best for us. We are deceived by thinking that the things of the flesh is what is best for us (1 Cor. 6:9,10). We are deceived by thinking that our relationship with those in the world will not hurt us (1 Cor. 15:33) and deceived with empty words (Eph. 5:6). We can even deceive ourselves in thinking that we do not sin (1 Jn. 1:8).
Do You Love Yourself?
Would you do this to your body? Stick a pin into your arm. Eat something that you know will make you sick or harm your body. Do not wash, leaving your body dirty.
Would you do this to your soul? Will you leave it dirty with sin? Would you take or let it be cast into a lake of fire? Remember, your soul is a part of you.
A lot of people, including some Christians, think they love self. But they do not take care of their body. They over eat, eat the wrong foods, they get drunk, they misuse drugs, they smoke, etc. doing harm to their bodies. They commit sins, do things against God’s Will, satisfying their own feelings, neglecting the needs of the soul. Do the people who do any of this really have self love?
To Have Self Love:
1) You will take care of your body. You will eat and drink what is good for it. You will keep it clean, so it is less likely to become diseased. You will present your body in service to God (Rom. 12:1-2). Remember, the body was created by the Lord for the Lord (1 Cor. 6:13; 18-20).
2) To have self love, is to recognize that there is another part of self that is the soul. This part of self should be the most important part to have our concern. The body will die, the soul goes on. To love self, you will want what is best for the soul. What of this life is worth losing your soul over (Mt. 16:2,27; Rom. 2:6-11).
3) To have self love, you will do what is best for self. God is the Creator of all things, he knows what is best for us, so let us heed unto His instruction through Jesus Christ.
– Raymond D. Vess