Do you eat daily? Clothe yourself? Take a bath occasionally?;) Dislike criticism? Dress for the weather? Own a mirror? Wear a seatbelt? Have any magazine subscriptions? Enjoy desserts? Get upset when others misunderstand you? Frequently feel the need to prove you are right? Wear makeup? Color your hair? Paint your nails? Brush your teeth? Save for a rainy day? Enjoy prosperity, prominence and promotion?
At the root of all these things is a love for self. This is one of the topics we discussed at the Gemstone Conference. Here is a great quote on the topic from Tozer:
“The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed. Think whether much of your sorrow has not arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal, how can you hope to find inward peace?”
Even someone who says they hate themselves, truly is manifesting a great degree of self love, because he or she is not ____________ or does not have _________________ or cannot be ________________. It is an ironic demonstration of selfish discontent.
Is loving self wrong? Well, while egocentricity is never admonished in scripture, it is a given that we will love ourselves (Mt. 19:19; Eph. 5:29); but if we live in observance of Phil 2:3 and esteem others better than ourselves, and also follow the admonition to love as God Himself loves (Jn 15:12)–selflessly, sacrificially, unconditionally– self will not be preeminent. That’s a tall order. When you study the attributes of agape as given in 1 Cor 13, you can certainly understand why the next chapter states that we need to “follow after” or (per the Amplified Bible) “eagerly pursue and seek to acquire these things.” A great marriage takes work…a grand love relationship with Almighty God requires self-denial, perseverance, and humility. We are seeking to know and emulate Someone who is, as J.I. Packer says, “totally other.”