Self Love (Part 4)

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV). Today we conclude our little series in the Scriptural development of self-love, or self-image. The Bible teaches that we have the opportunity to recast love of self through Christ. In our reading today, we read that “in the last days people will be lovers of self . . . rather than lovers of God.” So, there is a way in which love of self can usurp the rightful place of God in our hearts. Even though we may recoil at this point, it is an accurate description of our sinful nature. Perhaps you’ve struggled with crushing guilt you just can’t seem to shake. Actively striving for self-love and self-acceptance may seem like the only possible way to shed the feelings of guilt or inadequacy you feel. It is at that time we must remember that the temporary relief we might feel by self-love cannot compare to the overwhelming relief of true love and acceptance by God. The “self-acceptance” of the children of God is not an active striving to love ourselves more. Rather, it is coming more and more to see ourselves as God sees us: sinful, guilty, inadequate humans who have been washed clean and declared righteous by faith in Christ (cf. Romans 3:24). True self-love is acceptance of ourselves as redeemed people. Yes, we are loved and accepted, but it is precisely not because we are worthy in ourselves, but because Christ is worthy. Only when we accept the reality of redemption can we find freedom to look outwards. When our gaze is bent inward on ourselves, we fail to love God and cannot hope to love others. Then we may love ourselves enough to stop denying that our sins, our faults, our inadequacies are as real as our virtues. Then we may love ourselves enough to stop scraping together self-worth from broken, sinful pieces of self, and instead to embrace the free gift of the Father’s love for Christ’s sake. If the world really cared about helping us love ourselves, it would simply preach the gospel. Only the good news of Christ offers true hope. The message of the gospel is a message of freedom from efforts to love our broken selves by providing a worth that comes from outside of our brokenness, a worth that comes from Christ. Accept that love today. That will transform you. You are wonderfully made! Turn to your...

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