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…And love your neighbor as yourself. But, do we love ourselves?

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem issues? With feelings of unworthiness or self-doubt? We all have struggled with such thoughts atleast once in our lives. In a world where the wrong kind of values are celebrated, we can feel like we don’t live up to society’s expectations. A negative self-image can make us feel less than the person God created us to be.

God created us with an identity and this is our identity – we are CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 NIV

We are FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 NIV

We are CHOSEN.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9 NIV

We are LOVED.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NIV

We are GOD’S CHILDREN.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:16 NIV

Does it really matter what you think of yourself?

YES!

The Israelites saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to the people of Canaan. This prevented them from taking possession of the promised land.

We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Numbers 13:33 NIV

Gideon related his self-image to his circumstances. Saul was constantly insecure. Esau didn’t believe he had purpose and gave up his birthright for a simple meal.

Does this mean you should believe in yourself? You should believe that God loves you and created you with a purpose and you are able to accomplish His purpose. But, you should not believe ONLY in yourself, you should also believe in God. There are certain factors that are not in our hands but belong to God. When you do your part faithfully, God will bless the work of your hands and make it fruitful.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
Psalms 127:1

Why is it important to accept yourself?

There is a certain freedom that comes from knowing who you are and accepting yourself the way you were created. Yes, we should also aim to better ourselves. But you can only make improvements to yourself if you love yourself and want to change (in the right way). Self-acceptance is beautiful and life changing.

How you relate to others depends on your relationship with yourself. How well you understand yourself will determine how well you understand others. How you treat yourself determines how you treat others. If you believe you are worthy of love and respect you will also be inclined to treat others with the same love and respect.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matthew 22:39 NIV

We can only love ourselves (and others) when we have received love from God. We CANNOT do it without His love. Any such love is just fooling yourself.

We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 NIV

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