A while back I came across the following quote: “We have value to Him—we are loved by Him—not because He is impressed by or obligated by our actions, but because we are created in His image!” It went on to say, “Our sense of worth is inseparably tied to the life-changing and life-empowering love of God in Christ for us.” How true. Once you get beyond trying to be “good enough” and own this in your life – it is life-changing. The way you and I see ourselves feeds our self-worth. While I do not believe that a good self-esteem is the solve-all – such is good, necessary and Biblical.
One thing that is amazing about Scripture is its unending relevance. Found within God’s book are some great points concerning “love for self.” Doubtlessly the most familiar is when Jesus was asked by the lawyer about the “greatest commandment.” “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” he asked. Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) Jesus said that one’s love for a neighbor is to be equivalent to the love they have for themselves. In other words, you cannot really love your neighbor until you first love yourself. Notice, Jesus did not commandself-love. In fact, I don’t know of a single place in Scripture where God ever commands it. Rather, Jesus presupposedit – love your neighbor “as” you already love yourself. Jesus’ perspective was that people typically love themselves and such love is to serve as the standard by which one’s love for others is to be measured.
Another interesting comment is found in Paul’s discussion concerning marriage. In Ephesians 5 he states: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church….”(Ephesians 5:28) Notice that Paul says husbands are to love their wives “as their own bodies.” Again, self-love is the standard. But he doesn’t stop there; he goes on to say,“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”(v. 29)Clearly Paul is saying it’s normal for people to love, value, cherish themselves.
So if you or someone you care about doesn’t have that self-love, how is it developed? Let’s look at it Biblically and then practically. Biblically the answer is clear. Remember your value resides in the fact that you are created in God’s image. He is greatly fond of you and He longs to be with you. Your worth is tied to the life-changing love of God in Christ. When those times of doubt crop up, just take a trip in your mind to the cross!
Also, practically we can be proactive. The website Verywellmind.com suggests the following:
1) Write your own affirmation
2) Forgive yourself of past mistakes
3) Accept compliments
4) Do something kind everyday
5) Start making changes
Self-esteem is not the solve-all; however, it plays a huge role in the endeavor to have the joy-filled life God provides. So remember you are of value and be proactive!
You are loved,