There has been much discussion in the past decades about people needing to love themselves. It is an unnecessary discussion. We do love ourselves. It is part of the flesh nature. We may not love the situation we’re in, but the fact is that we wouldn’t even have the conversation if we didn’t, by our very nature, love ourselves.
To get wisdom is to love oneself;
to keep understanding is to prosper. Proverbs 19:8 NRSV
Satan, who is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), tries to convince us that we need to spend more time focusing on loving ourselves. We need to focus on ourselves, to spend our time and resources getting for ourselves. We need to defend ourselves and get all that we deserve… for ourselves.
Proverbs tells us that, if we truly love ourselves, we will first look to getting wisdom. That having wisdom is how we will prosper. And what is wisdom? Wisdom is God Himself.
In other words, if we truly love ourselves, we will do exactly the opposite of what feels comfortable. We will sacrifice, turn our backs on our own needs, and throw ourselves on the love and protection of our Heavenly Father Who is infinitely better suited to take care of us than we ourselves.
For example, it is innate in our being to want to protect our lives. As a culture, we Americans spend millions (might I say billions?) of dollars each year on health care, on beauty aids, on exercise, trying to extend our lives. And not only to extend them, but to look young and gorgeous in the process. If we, as Christians, get caught up in this insanity, we forget the basic premise of being a Christian. The apostle Paul taught us that
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Philippians 1:21 NRSV
There are only two states for a Christian. One is to live here in total self-sacrifice, doing only what Christ would have me do. The other is to die and gain everything from that death.
Why are we so afraid of dying? (And even in asking that question, many will deny it, and by that denial, admit it’s truth.) What is coming is far better than anything we could envision and imagine here. We run like hamsters in a cage trying to make this earth into a heaven, impossible as that is, when, in fact, we have Heaven—the true Heaven—already promised to us if we will only be faithful with the short time we have been given here.
If we want to love ourselves, we will put off the old man and, regardless of the suffering we may face, embrace Christ fully and without regard to the future. For only then is our future truly secured.