Recently, I witnessed something that shocked me a little. In a ladies’ Bible class, the speaker I was listening to posed the question, “Do you love God?” I watched in amazement as out of a class of around 45 ladies, only 7 proceeded to put up their hands.
But… how can that be? How can it be that out of a group of women, who have dedicated their lives to the Lord, less than half have the confidence to say that they love their God?
When the speaker asked why this was the case, the ladies replied that they did not feel they were good enough to truly say that they loved God. The reason was that they did not realise their worth and capability. They did not love themselves.
While many may argue that this is a necessary frame of mind (you know, part of being humble and all) I will argue that this is simply not the case. This is false humility, and not the humility that God requires. Though at times it is difficult; it is absolutely necessary that we love ourselves!
We really need to keep in mind that God has made us in His image (Genesis 1:26, 27). It was God Himself that said His creation was very good (Genesis 1:31)—and all of the works of the Lord are great (Psalm 111:24). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)!
Have you ever thought that when you say that you are not good enough, you are in fact insulting God? In effect, when we say that we are ugly, or not good enough or “Can’t do anything right!” we are actually saying that what God has given us is not enough, he has made us incomplete, and He has made a mistake in making us. The bottom line is that God makes no mistakes.
All of the gifts He gives are good and perfect—and yes, that includes you: your body, your talents, and your life (James 1:17).
Also, we are told that we need to think of ourselves in a sober and balanced fashion (Romans 12:3-5). Though we are not to think too highly of ourselves (which most people get right), we also cannot think of ourselves as too lowly. We are made in the image of God, and we are capable beings. As the psalmist declares “I will show your strength!” (Psalm 71:21) and Paul confidently says “I have fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7-8); so we too can be confident we can accomplish His will. Our attitude should not be “I am not perfect, so I cannot,” but rather, “God made me and He is with me, so I can!” (Philippians 4:13).
Lastly, loving ourselves and thinking ourselves capable is absolutely essential to loving God himself. We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 19:19; Mark 22:39). It logically follows that we must love ourselves if we are to truly love others. Have you realised this to be the case? Have you ever felt so down on yourself that you felt others were putting you down? Looking at you funny? Meaning something they did not say, or saying something they did not mean? Let me give you an example:
Me: *Internal thought: “I’m so fat and lazy!”*
Me: “Oh no, I haven’t been to the gym today”
Husband: “You can go now if you like.”
Me: “Oh! So are you saying I need to go, are you?!”
Husband: “What?! No! You’re beautiful!”
Me: “No! You think I’m fat and lazy!”
Unfortunately, this was an actual conversation I had with my husband (my poor, poor husband!). I really do find when I think badly about myself, I treat my husband worse. I snap. I get grumpy. I compare. I complain. I nit-pick. I think that he is saying what my internal voice is saying. The truth is we really cannot truly love others and look at what they say with honesty unless we love ourselves. You see the picture right?
But, if this is true, so it is also true that we need to love ourselves before we can truly love God. If we do not love others who we see, we cannot truly say that we love God (1 John 4:20).
So can I love myself? Yes, I can, I should and I must.
Clearly there is no room in the mind of a Christian woman to think she is incapable or worthless. God has created us capable and has made us in His image. Not only do we have no reason not to love ourselves, but it is essential to our Christian walk. Without loving ourselves first we cannot truly love our brethren, and without truly loving our brethren, we cannot truly love our God. Loving ourselves is important because until we accept ourselves as precious we put a real stumbling block in the way to our developing a greater love for Him.
How can we love Him until we truly love and appreciate His creation?
Yes, that means you. Your body, your talents, your life.
You are precious. You are capable. You are loved. Believe it.