Self Love (Part 3)

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV). The Apostle Paul is always direct in his letters when speaking about the gospel and the human condition. There really is no way to soft-sell our sin. We are not OK without the redemptive work of Christ. This brings us to the second of our principles in the appropriate development of self-love. In order to have positive self-love, we cannot accept your sins. In 1967, in the midst of tremendous national upheaval and change, Thomas Harris wrote and published an immediate best seller, I’m OK, You’re OK. It is a practical guide to transactional analysis as a method for solving problems in life. In transactional analysis, the individual is trained to alter the ego state as a way to solve emotional problems. The thought was that you could simply think your way to a better life. If you’re sad, merely think happy thoughts and you would become happy. Loving yourself and high self-esteem became the solution to all of our individual problems. Unfortunately this view is not found in Scripture. Further, this unbiblical view of self-love not only leaves you unsatisfied; it can leave you unsanctified. If we dismiss the convictions of conscience as simply lack of self-acceptance, we risk misidentifying gracious warnings from God as attacks from Satan. When we do this, we forget the crucial difference between Christ’s invitation to come as you are and the unbiblical invitation to stay as you are. When Christ calls us, he genuinely loves and embraces us having fulfilled all conditions himself for our full acceptance. But in the same act, he calls us to hate our old nature and lay it aside, to strive for renewal (cf. Romans 12:2), and to deny ourselves (cf. Matthew 16:24). God does not want us to simply achieve a heightened acceptance of self; he desires our sanctification (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:3). Though we may not realize it, the call to “just love yourself more,” when it is offered in answer to feelings of guilt, can undermine this key truth. Neglect of biblical truth leaves the truly regenerate heart even more dissatisfied and confused. You can be OK; however, that state can only be found in Christ. Trust HIM! Only He is...

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