(If you’ve stumbled across thist post, let me explain where you are. You have landed smack in the middle of one of my favorite series ever. We started some time ago by learning that God expects us to love ourselves. Now, we’re going through the definition of love in I Corinthians 13:4-7 to help us understand how we can love ourselves in a healthy way so can love others better. Go back to that first post to read the series from the beginning and to find an index of all the posts available. Enjoy today’s post as well.)
Do Not Boast or Be Arrogant–Love Yourself
Perhaps this shocks you. Generally when we think of those who love themselves, we think of boasting and arrogance. However, this demonstrates that loving ourselves as God loves us and the way we are to love others is not about being self-infatuated, self-centered, or selfish. Healthy love for ourselves doesn’t boast and isn’t arrogant.
When we see the Pharisee in Luke 18:11-12, we say, “That man’s problem is he loves himself too much.”
God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.
Despite how self-promoting that was, that is not a healthy love for self. Rather, it is a shallow approach to self. This man didn’t have a healthy love for himself because of any innate value as a creation and child of God. In fact, he did himself a disservice while not even realizing it. He only saw himself as worth anything based on how he compared to others. In this case, he saw himself as better than others, which is certainly a sinful attitude. However, it establishes a terrible groundrule by which to judge self. What would happen when he came across someone to whom he didn’t compare?
Loving ourselves in a healthy way is recognizing the innate value we have as a creation of God who is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Loving ourselves in a healthy way is recognizing the innate value we have because God loves us no matter who we are or what we’ve done (I John 4:19). Loving ourselves in a helathy way is recognizing the innate value we have because we are in the same boat as everyone else around us (Romans 3:23).
When we begin to pervert our healthy love into self-infatuation through boasting and arrogance as if our innate value originates from us and what we do rather than from God and what He has done in us, then we have ceased to love ourselves properly and will not be able to love others properly.
Boast in God, not self. You are worth far more than the shallow comparisons with other people whether those comparisons lead you to envy, as we discussed last week, or to boasting and arrogance. Don’t sacrifice the truly healthy love God has granted you for that shallow pretense of real love.
Don’t boast or be arrogant, instead love yourself as God has loved you.
(Remember to come back next Monday as we learn that we can love ourselves instead of being rude.)