Is “You’re very self-loving,” a compliment?

It’s not a compliment to tell someone, “You are very self-loving.” When you tell someone, “I love you,” you wouldn’t want them to say, “I love me, too.” Your hope is that they will express love back to you. I think God feels the say way. What Christians call “self-love” is too often a subtle form of ego-gratification.

Self-love wants to avoid sacrifice. Love for God embraces it. Jesus commanded us to “Love your enemies.” He never commanded us to “Love yourself.”

When people love a sports team, they set aside their self-focus and adore the team. Surely Christians can do the same for God. Trying to increase your self-love is frustrating, but every openhearted look at the living Jesus will grow your love for Him.

Jesus never said, “Go into all the world and love yourself.” He said, “Go into all the world and make disciples (sold-out Christ-followers).

“Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 2:5. Jesus’ mindset was self-sacrifice, not self-love.

Self-love asks the question, “How am I feeling?” A better question is: “How can I open up my life more fully to God’s will?”

Philippians chapter 2 shows how Jesus laid down His life for others. He didn’t cling to His life or try to pamper or protect Himself. Instead, He hung on the cross, suffered, died, and as the Apostles Creed says, “descended into Hell,” giving it all in acts of self-sacrificing love. For me, suffering leads me to freedom from self-consciousness. In my pain, my focus is drawn to God. Instead of trying to love myself, my will, and my desires, I’m compelled to let them go and I cry out to God for mercy, healing, and deliverance thus finding ever-growing dependence on the risen Jesus.

Trying to love myself traps me in painful self-focus. Surrendering to God’s love for me frees me from self-consciousness.

2 Timothy 3 lists the sins of the last days. The first one listed is: “People will be lovers of themselves.” Self-love is a trap.

The human problem isn’t a lack of self-love. It’s self obsession. Many times, the New Testament commands us to “love one another” but it only refers to self-love the few times when it quotes the 2nd Greatest Commandment from the Old Testament (which assumes that we humans already love and prioritize ourselves). “Love one another,” is a command but loving yourself is human nature.

Photo by Kaique Rocha on

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
This entry was posted in self-esteem, self-exaltation, self-focus, self-image, self-importance, self-indulgence and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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