Self-love: Do You Love Me?

Audio Only: Do you love “me”? Ask yourself this question! Are you in love with yourself? Is it proper for a Christian to practice self-love and self-care? Let’s take a look at that in today’s sermon. Here are the verses that I will be using for my key verses: 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV And the second is like it: ‘You shall love …

Audio Only:

Do you love “me”? Ask yourself this question! Are you in love with yourself? Is it proper for a Christian to practice self-love and self-care? Let’s take a look at that in today’s sermon. Here are the verses that I will be using for my key verses:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:39 NKJV

Loving yourself is not wrong

It may sound like I am asking you whether or not you love me, but I’m not necessarily concerned with whether or not you love me! I don’t seek praise or glory. However, my thought for today is actually about you. I want you to look in a mirror and ask the person you see in the mirror, “do you love me?” Understand that you are asking yourself whether or not you love yourself.

Our first instinct as Christians is towards others; we are or should be, considerate of all of those around us. However, there are many people that I have met on this spiritual journey, that seem to lose track of themselves. They become so concerned with others that they forget to be concerned about themselves.

For the Christian, the idea of helping others is founded on sound doctrine. Paul wrote (2 Timothy 1:9), in his second letter to Timothy, that our (the Christian) calling is a holy calling to serve the Lord’s purpose. Our calling is clearly not a calling for our own purpose but to serve the Lord’s purpose. The purpose, Paul makes more clear in our key verse for today’s sermon. Paul writes (Philippians 2:3) that our purpose is towards all of those around us. He says that we should carry ourselves with a lowliness of mind, esteeming others better than we esteem ourselves. In other words, the Christian should lift up those around him/her higher than him or herself.

For the common person, this makes little to no sense because everybody wants to be at the top of the mountain – over everybody. However, Christian doctrine is all about being meek, lowly, and humble while edifying our neighbors. I want you to also notice that Paul says (Philippians 2:3) that we should do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit. Again, the focus is on how we go about doing something for somebody else.  There is little to no focus on “self” in this passage of scripture, so this could be very confusing to the believer.

The question ultimately comes across our minds, “how concerned should we be for ourselves? Are we being “selfish” when we care for our very own concerns?” These are questions that I definitely understand; this is a subject that we must definitely take a look. Doctrine makes it very clear that we have a responsibility to our neighbors however, this can be very confusing when it comes to self-care, self-love, and self-responsibility. Let’s take a dive into this subject of Christian self-care, self-love, and self-responsibility.

Christian self-care

We, as believers, know Jesus’ teaching very well when it comes to His command of love. In the gospels, we are told that we should love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:37). However, within this command to love, Jesus reminds us that we should also love our neighbor as yourself. I want to take a look at these scriptures because we know them but we are also overlooking something that is clearly there.

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV

We clearly notice the part where Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. I have hit this fact home in quite a few sermons this year. So, with that being said, this is not going to be another sermon about loving our neighbor because I think we get that. I want us to notice the part of the scripture that says, “as yourself” – its right there at the end of the scripture. Jesus says, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

What Jesus is stating within this command is that you already love yourself! He is saying to you the reader, to you the believer, “I know you already love yourself, so love your neighbor with that same kind of love that you have for yourself!” Love is not, nor should it ever be, a one-sided thing – love is equal.  So, self-care/self-love is not something that is forbidden by the Lord! We are supposed to love others equally as we love ourselves!

Now, when people hear about self-love/self-care the first thing they do is look in the mirror to see their outer appearance – I get it. There is a big movement going on where we are being told that we should love the way we look, imperfections and all – again, nothing wrong with that. Personally, I have never needed someone to tell me that I should love my flaws, not because I am the finest man in the world, but because I love me some me!  However, I get that some of us do need to be reminded that we should love the way we look – we really are beautiful creatures on the outside. When I was a child, looks meant a great deal to me, but I’m a grown man and frankly, looks don’t mean much of anything to me anymore.  I have grown to accept and love the way we look. With all of that said, I certainly hope that all of you love who you are on the outside, but outer appearance is not what I am going to be preaching about in this sermon!

An introspective look – a look inside

My concern is about you on the inside – your soul (spirit). When I asked, do you love “me” (yourself), I am asking about your spirit and not your looks! You see, the spirit is what we often overlook because we get hung up on our own outwardly beauty, yet it is what’s on the inside that we should be concerned about. We should love who we are on the inside, but I tell you that we must be careful with our love of self. The love of self, while it is a good thing, can also be a very dangerous thing when we love ourselves to an extreme level. Let me show you what I mean by this.

Paul, in his writing to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:2, 4) stated that in the last days, men will be “lovers of themselves”. At first glance, nothing sounds bad about us being lovers of ourselves because, after all, we should love ourselves, right? However, Paul continues and said that men would be lovers of themselves rather than “lover of God” – this is that extreme. You see, there is a line that we must not cross in our pursuit of self-love and this is that line – we cannot love ourselves more than we love God.

However, in the last days, some men (women included) will love themselves more than they ever would love God and this, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is a very great sin.  I tell you today, there are many people who think very highly of themselves and want all the glory to go to them and not anybody else – God included.  You may know somebody like this if not many people. It is dangerous for a man to want others to praise him more than to praise God. It is dangerous for anybody to want love heaped on themselves more than to have love be heaped on God, but that is exactly where we are at in this time – it’s downright frightening.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself, but don’t put yourself over God – that is not your rightful place. We must remember that it was God who formed us and created us in His image – we did not create God, no matter how much some people like to believe that lie. Let’s keep this in mind as we take our first introspective look inside of ourselves.

In our first look inside, I tell you, we ought not to like nor love what we see. In our first look, what we’ll see on the inside is the sinner that we are; we will see nearly every sin that we have committed. All of the times that we have wronged somebody; we will see those things and it will make us absolutely sick. So, again I say, we ought not to love that person – if you fall in love with that person, just know that you’re falling in love with a person that stands at odds with the Lord. If you don’t like what you see, that is the moment when you should repent – turn to the Lord – and tell God that you don’t love what’s inside of you! Tell the Lord to take that sinner out of you and that you want to be washed whole – the Lord will wash you clean with the blood of Christ. The next time you take that introspective look, you will see that the Lord has started to work a good work inside of you!

You see, after you have repented, the next times that you look on the inside, you will no longer see that sinner but you will see something new – you will see the Holy Spirit. I tell you, what you see from that day forward will be an absolutely beautiful thing. You can and will fall in love with this new creature! I know this is true because it has happened to me! I looked inside of myself, saw the person I was becoming and told the Lord to take that man out of me and make me brand new! Time has long passed since that day and I tell you that I absolutely love the creature that I am today.

I look inside of me and I see that I am no longer that hate-filled selfish sinner, even though that old man tries to creep up now and then, but the Holy Spirit won’t allow him to have me! I love the creature that I am today; the love that is inside of me! I see who I am, what I have become spiritually, and I tell you that I rejoice on this day! I hope that you too are able to look within yourself, see the creature that you have become and join me in our rejoicing. If you are unable to do that on this day, I certainly hope that one day you are able to join me in our rejoicing and are able to tell me all about it – it’s an absolutely wonderful feeling.

We must get to a good and right place if we are going to serve to the Lord’s purpose. The problem that many people face is that they are not in a good place to serve to the Lord’s purpose. To this, especially to believers, I say that there is nothing wrong with this. You may be in a pit and are unable to serve. You may be going through the storms of life and are unable to serve. You may be going through some dog days and are unable to serve. I understand all of these things – we all go through these things. We cannot be an empty pitcher, trying to give ourselves – you can’t pick up an empty pitcher and expect to pour out a cup of lemonade. Scripture (2 Corinthians 9:7) tells us that the Lord loves a cheerful giver! We cannot give what we do not have, that’s physically and spiritually speaking.

There are many of us whose cup is overflowing with goodness, but we don’t even pour out that good for anybody else. I tell you, when the pitcher is overflowing and you don’t share what the Lord is pouring onto you, that’s incredibly selfish – that is not self-care or self-love. There is nothing wrong with being on empty, or nearly empty, and not sharing, however, there is a lot wrong when you’re overflowing and not sharing at all. Are you holding on to what you have, even though you have abundantly so that nobody else can have anything? Take a look deep down on the inside and ask do you really love what’s on the inside of yourself to do such a thing. If the Holy Spirit truly resides inside of you, you will see that such an act is completely wrong.  I believe scripture, sound doctrine, clearly defines to us that self-love is very welcome, but when we have in abundance, we should not refrain from lifting someone in need up.

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About Pastor Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II was licensed to preach August 12, 2012, and ordained April 28, 2013. Currently pastors at Christian Unity in Douglasville, GA and online through New Found Faith.

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