What Does the Bible Say about Loving Yourself ?

Part of my daily morning prayer is I would fulfill my purpose in life by loving God completely, loving myself correctly, and to love others with compassion. Loving my Savior comes easily. Then I pray and work towards having His eyes when I see others. But loving myself correctly can sometimes escape my grasp. How do we balance the truth of our sinfulness with knowing He made us in His image? What does the Bible say about loving yourself?

What does the Bible say about loving yourself- stones on beach shaped into a heart

Self Love in the Bible 

Is the concept of self-love compatible with Christianity? Is loving yourself Biblical? Jesus speaks to those questions when He spells out the importance of love in Matthew 22:38-39. He gives us the greatest commandment – to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. The second one, He states, is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  

Before all else, we must love God first- with every part of our being. It is our rock solid foundation for all that follows, including knowing how to love ourselves and show His love to others.

Made in God’s Image

God didn’t create man because of boredom, loneliness, or need. We were created in the image of God to enjoy eternal life in a loving relationship with Him. 

If God’s image is one of unfathomable worth, then being made in His image helps us understand our own worth and purpose.

Struggling with low self-esteem comes from basing our worth on our performance and other people’s opinions about us. It’s very “self” centered and causes insecurities. It’s based on the way the world sees things- looks, finances, circle of friends, your job, etc.

It’s important to note how God sees you and cherish His ideals. When Samuel was preparing to anoint a new king, God advises him:

“Do not consider his appearances or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 19:7

But the Bible also warns us that in the terrible last days people will be “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient… rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-2)

Clearly then, there is a distinction in the idea of self-love that we need to understand.

Is Loving Yourself a Sin?

Let’s begin with what a distorted self-love looks like, so we know what not to do…

The 2 Timothy verse above speaks of a sinful self love. Paul describes the love in this verse as the Greek word philautos, a selfish and arrogant self-love; intent only on one’s self-interests.

People will completely take their eyes off God and their lives will revolve only around themselves and their interests.

In contrast, the love Jesus speaks of in our Matthew verses was agape love- that precious, faithful, committed love that is the highest form of true love described in 1 Corinthians 13. That’s the love we should show for God, self, and others.

Understanding Self Love

Christian self love is based on the everlasting love God has for us- selfless and unconditional. 

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13.

While many of us know our identity in Christ and believe He loves us sacrificially and unconditionally, we can still struggle with a healthy self-love.

The world and culture today send us completely different messages than the Word of God. It tells us we are basically good. (We’re not.) 

It says that loving ourselves means we accept all our flaws and place our needs, desires, and own interests first. (Not Biblical.)

It also gives us impossible ideals to live up to. We look in the mirror and concentrate on the things we don’t like about ourselves. 

It may be our physical self, or things we regret saying or doing in the past. 

We dislike some of our character traits and feel insecure and guilt. We beat ourselves up over our shortcomings.

Why do we do that?

Because the enemy loves to get inside our head and tell us our looks/personality/ previous blunders, etc., means we’re not worthy of love.

He’s the inner bully that eggs us on to self-loathing instead of self love. He plants negative thoughts about ourselves to separate us from God’s love.

So, what is the key to loving yourself correctly?

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Importance of Self Love

We need to remember that our self love is based on the deep agape love of God and that Jesus’ selfless sacrifice saved us. Therefore, He never wants us to see ourselves as worthless!

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13.

Listening and believing what He says about us helps us have the correct attitude of self love.

Self Love and God

We know as Christians that we are sinners saved by His grace alone. Christian self-love admits our guilt and flaws, confessing and surrendering ourselves to Jesus. His grace never puts us down or shames us.

He promises to call us His children:

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12.

Like any good Father, He doesn’t want us to pick ourselves apart or become consumed with insecurities. Likewise, He doesn’t want us on the other end of the spectrum with an inflated, prideful ego.

Pride is in us by nature. We have to work against it and not allow it to take root.

Acknowledging His boundless love and what He has done for us should fill us with a humble spirit. Through Him, we see ourselves as washed clean and fully redeemed.

A correct self love comes through seeing ourselves as He sees us. That gives us the correct balance of humility and confidence to love ourselves correctly.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

Humility has us thinking more about others than ourselves. 

Our self love will naturally waver from time to time. We can overcome, however, and free ourselves from negative self-thoughts.

It takes persistence (it’s a lifelong process), knowing what He says about us in His Word, and a resolve to keep our eyes on Jesus.

Bible Verses about Loving Yourself

We’ve already mentioned Matthew 22:38-39, where Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

But before we can show His love and care for others, we need to love ourselves correctly. We learn to love ourselves when we understand how God sees us. Gaining this understanding means knowing His Word and what He says about us.

  ●“All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24.

What a gift! By God’s grace, we can come as we are and let Him love and embrace us. He paid the price with His genuine and gracious love. 

Our guilt and shame are gone! True love of self is accepting yourself as wholly loved and completely redeemed.

  ●“He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.”

If we care deeply about our hearts and minds, we will seek God’s wisdom.

 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14a.

God put His character within you. If you begin to feel worthless, let His Spirit convict you of your worth.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7.

God cares for you, right down to the numbers of hairs on your head! Value yourself by His estimate of your worth.

God Teach Me How to Love Myself

Another aspect of self-love is caring for ourselves physically, spiritually, and mentally.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

●Our own bodies are God’s, and He lives within us. He considers it a temple- a sacred place. 

Because our bodies are His, we need to adhere to His standards. Basic self-care (a healthy diet, enough sleep, etc.) and exercise are healthy ways to care for our bodies.

●Time spent reading and studying His word and in prayer keeps us spiritually on track in our relationship.

●Accept His love for you. Focus on Him. Jesus said He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10). 

When we understand the importance of self-love and practice it correctly, we can enjoy the depth of His indescribable gift, and pass it on to others.

5 Ways to Love Yourself

Learn, value, and accept your identity in Christ. He values and cherishes you. You are precious to Him.

Do you value yourself in the same way God does? Pray to receive His love, care, and compassion instead of pushing it away.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Keep your eyes on Jesus instead. He has a plan and a purpose that only you can fill.

Spend some time thinking about your positive traits, gifts, and abilities. He gave them to you and values how you use them for Him. Know who you are and accept how He made you.

Recognize you’re not perfect. No one is perfect! Our Christian journey is one of “sanctification”- becoming more Christ-like.

Don’t let your mistakes define who you are. Don’t listen to the voice of the enemy; listen to the voice of your Savior.

Forgive and show compassion to yourself. Give yourself the same grace that Jesus does. His compassion and forgiveness give us the overwhelming reassurance of His great love.

Learning how to give ourselves grace helps us love and respect ourselves.

Don’t be afraid to ask Him for help when you need it. He wants to give us His strength, guidance, and help when we struggle with our self worth.

What Does God Say about Self Love?

Jesus has great plans for you!

 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which god prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10.

He wants us to partner with Him to heal the world with His love.♥

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV.

We are to be living examples of Jesus’ love. Being successful in loving others begins with loving ourselves correctly. 

It is a lifelong, but not impossible process! God sent Jesus to earth to show how much He loves us.

It is our job to show His love to others. We can only do that when we properly love ourselves by receiving His love in our hearts and accepting the worth that comes from being His child.



All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Photo Credit: Canva

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