Love yourself less

Self love is a common theme discussed on social media. Quotes around ‘putting yourself first’ and ‘living for your own happiness’ are common and widely agreed with. As appealing as the idea of self-love may sound, I’m convinced that in some ways this teaching falls short of the biblical basis.

OK, stay with me for a minute.

Firstly, let me define the type of ‘self love’ that I’m talking about. The “self-love” I’m referring to is the type that’s centered around love and adoration of self. It rejects any negative thoughts of yourself, any character flaws, insecurity or guilt. It says “take me as I am or watch me as I leave”.

It can be loud and in your face or it can be subtle. But one thing is certain, it’s worship to an all too farmiliar idol: self.

Lovers of themselves

An idol can be described as anything that you treasure more than God. It can be your partner, education, business, friendships, or, yourself. Your own looks could be an idol, your body, your accumulation of knowledge.

Scripture teaches us not to have idols other than God (Exodus 20:3) and warns that in the last days “people will be lovers of themselves” (2 Timothy 3:2) instead of lovers of God.

This is dangerous because driven by the love of self, we naturally become self-seeking, self-centered and selfish, contrary to the biblical teachings of servanthood, self-denying and selflessness.

I can remember a time when I was my own idol. Although I couldn’t see it then, I had this subtle air of self importance that basically made me think the world of myself. A lot of my actions were led by a “what’s in it for me” mentality and self-preservation. But as I’ve gotten closer to God, I’ve been able to see the reality of my flawed state and recognise my desperate need for a Saviour.  

The solution to our self-obsession

The problem of idolatry starts with the heart and so does the solution. The Bible’s answer to our fallen self-obsession is in the greatest command: “Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength” (Luke 10:27).

An authentic love for God changes our affections and desires.

I recently told a friend that Christianity is like a heart transplant. I said this because when we start to love God deeply, there is a transformation of what we love and treasure.

The bible states that “no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other” (Matthew 6:24). Showing that the more we love God and choose Him to serve him as our master, the less room we have in our hearts for other idols.

As Christians we should ask God to search our hearts and reveal any hidden idols we may have. Self-examination is not always an easy task, but it’s necessary to ensure we know where we stand before God.

Have you ever had any idols? Have you struggled to let them go? Drop me a comment below!