As I was walking yesterday, I saw a man riding a Super Bike. He had a female passenger on the back … raised up higher than himself. He was driving respectably. Both passenger and rider were warmly dressed for the cold weather. As they turned the corner, I noticed that his passenger had long grey socks on, folded down towards her boots in a fashionable style. So, my mind kicks into gear and the concept of self-esteem becomes the subject of thought.
I recall that as teenagers my friends and I were extremely self-conscience about our appearance … this was all about peer pressure. We were very conscience of our shoes, socks, pants, shirt, tie, belt, jacket and hair. The thinking was, “if you look good, you feel good, you are good.”
When teaching at high school in the late 1990’s, I taught two subjects. The one was Bible Ed. and the other was Guidance. One of the topics for Guidance was self-esteem. Fortunately, I obtained permission to write my own curriculum, and in place of teaching self-esteem, I taught self-love.
Why did I not want to teach self-esteem? Well, according to an on online dictionary, self-esteem is defined in psychological terms as: “In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. In other words, how much you appreciate and like yourself. Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means that it tends to be stable and enduring.” See that? Self-worth, personal value, appreciation and self-like.
Why did I want to teach self-love? Let’s examine the Scriptures.
Firstly, we have Genesis chapter 1:
Ge 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
This has absolutely nothing to do with how I see myself, my appearance, what I look line and how I feel about myself. Image and likeness here addresses the moral powers and ability towards holiness (Christlikeness) in man before sin. Sin tarnished this image and likeness.
Secondly, once you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you are transformed. That image and likeness of Genesis chapter 1 starts to return as you grow spiritually through the use of the Bible (see both Eph 1:4 and Rom 8:29). There is a putting off of the old man (sinful ways) and a putting on the new man (godly ways).
As a follower of Jesus, you are now able to love God, and once you love God you are able to love other people and you are able to love yourself. Look at the following Scripture and see these three aspects of love:
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
See the process of loving God? With all your heart, soul and mind. (Mark 12:30 includes ‘strength’) This is the first and greatest Commandment … covering the first four of the Ten Commandments. It includes the emotion, spiritual, mental and physical abilities of man. Then we find the Second Greatest Commandment summarizing the last six of the Ten Commandments … “to love your neighbor” … and what we often forget … “as yourself”.
See that? Once you are able to love God correctly, you are able to love yourself correctly and then you are able to love your neighbor correctly. Once God loves you, you are able to love yourself because God not only loves you but accepts you as you are. It has nothing to do with your clothing, your accommodation, your education, your economic status, your transport or your friendship circle. It’s all about the fact that God has saved your soul, loves you passionately and accepts you exactly as you are! To God you are precious:
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Because God loves you, you may now love what God loves … yourself! You can accept yourself as you are. It’s called self-love based upon what Jesus Christ has done for you! In Jesus you are accepted and loved as you are!
Dear God, thank you that in Jesus I am loved and precious. Thank you that you accept me as I am and I can love myself as I am because you love me. Thank you in Jesus name. Amen.