I Love Me

Light_Make_Up_MirrorDo 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.”

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4 thoughts on “I Love Me

  1. Tozer is great and I recommend him to anyone! Nevertheless, I’m not quite so sure I agree with him completely in this statement. If we are all supposed to be completely void of any and all concern for self and just be tough and always ignore ourselves, then why is the Bible replete (old and new testament) with messages on the tongue and how we should be careful what we say? So when we say something intentionally (not referring to hypersensitive people who get offended easily at just about anything; there’s one in every crowd) unkind and cruel to someone, THEY are the ones who are in the wrong for having the gall to feel bad???

  2. I believe Tozer’s point in this comment is that a Christian will never find inward peace if he or she is continually in self-defense mode. When someone offers criticism, we ought to receive it (regardless of whether we believe it is warranted or think it comes from a credible source) and try to glean from it, in humility. Proverbs is replete with references about this (10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5,10,31). When we regard someone’s negative comment with pure disdain and with no pause for consideration, it is because we have set ourselves up as the “gold standard” – a god – no one should challenge us. We love ourselves supremely, and peace with God can never be the result of this. We live in a time when speaking one’s mind is seen as a positive thing (but Proverbs says it is the trademark of a fool), and demanding one’s rights is understood to be the reasonable thing to do, always. Our quest should not be for self, but for truth. Sometimes the truth vindicates us, and sometimes it condemns us. It is not so much an ignoring of self as it is to cultivate a level devotion for God that our love for self moves from the head of the table back to the cheap seats.

    As far as our dealings with others, there are numerous admonitions in scripture regarding confrontation and exhortation…but the key ingredient is found in Eph 4:15…speak the truth…in love. Soft words turn away wrath. And, there are some who require a stronger approach as well. It behooves us to be able to tell the difference (which is the meaning of “making a difference” in Jude 1:22) by discernment through the Spirit. If we confront as a result of prayerful consideration instead of as a knee-jerk reaction, it is much more likely to be purposeful and profitable, yielding the “peaceable fruit of righteousness”. (Heb 12:11)

  3. Well, I know I appreciate (okay, maybe not immediately, but in hindsight) honest friends who will tell me when I am out of line. They are motivated by a love for me. However, there are some critics who are driven by pure meanness or jealousy or other selfish motives. Some people enjoy injuring others in order to elevate themselves. Yet, even in these cases, I need to ask myself if there is any truth to be found in the accusation or critique. I would say it is the better part of wisdom to spread such venom out before the Lord and ask Him (Ps. 139:17-23–an excellent context)–from the pen of David, a man who could, with authority, say, “Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.”

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