Self love is an important concept that is rooted in biblical principles. The bible teaches us to love others as we love ourselves. But what exactly does the bible say about self love?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The bible encourages self love through teachings on honoring our bodies as temples of God, exercising self care, having a sound mind, and knowing our worth in Christ.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore various bible verses and passages that discuss the meaning of self love from a Christian perspective. We’ll cover principles such as self care, positive self talk, setting healthy boundaries, and recognizing that we are made in the image of God.
Honoring Our Bodies as Temples of God
Our Bodies Are Temples of the Holy Spirit
The Bible teaches us that our bodies are not just physical vessels, but temples of God’s Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
This means we need to honor our bodies as sacred places where God’s presence dwells.
When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit takes residence within us. This is an amazing privilege! God wants to be intimately involved in our lives, so He places a part of Himself in us. Our bodies literally become His temple. What an honor!
Since God lives in us through His Spirit, we need to care for our bodies accordingly. We should make choices that honor our bodies as God’s temple, not desecrate them through unhealthy habits or immorality.
As GotQuestions.org says, “If the Spirit of God lives in us, our bodies are like the holy of holies of the ancient tabernacle where God’s Spirit dwelt.”
Caring for Our Body as an Act of Worship
Caring for our physical health is one way we can honor God with our bodies. Getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious foods, exercising, and resting properly all allow our bodies to function at optimal capacity. This demonstrates good stewardship of the body God gave us.
In contrast, intentionally neglecting our health through lack of self-control shows disregard for the divine privilege of housing God’s Spirit. Gluttony, drunkenness, recklessness with our bodies, etc. defile the holy temple in which God dwells.
Beyond just avoiding sin, we can proactively care for our body as an act of worship to God. Romans 12:1 says to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” to God. Making healthy lifestyle choices and treating our body well is one way to live out this passage.
When we honor our body, we honor the God who created us and indwells us.
Caring for our physical body also equips us for greater spiritual service. As CompellingTruth.org explains, “If we are exhausted, overweight, out of shape, or abusing our bodies through intake of unhealthy food, drugs, alcohol, or other substances, we are not operating at full spiritual capacity.”
Being a good steward of our health allows us to fully leverage our lives for God’s glory.
Practicing Self Care and Rest
The concept of Sabbath rest originates in the Bible, where God rested on the seventh day after creating the world (Genesis 2:2). This establishes the pattern of taking a full day each week to rest, reflect, and reconnect with God.
Jesus reinforced the importance of Sabbath by scolding the Pharisees for having strict Sabbath rules but failing to grasp its purpose (Mark 2:27).
Regular Sabbath-keeping is thus seen as vital for self-care and wellbeing. Setting aside a 24-hour period for mental, emotional and spiritual rest allows time to recharge, prevent burnout, reduce stress, and reflect on life from a divine perspective.
Some ideas for Sabbath activities include: enjoying nature, praying, worshipping, reading inspirational texts, journaling, spending time with loved ones, or doing creative projects. The key is resting from work and focusing on renewal.
Jesus Setting an Example of Self Care
Despite His demanding schedule, Jesus modeled healthy self-care by deliberately retreating for solitude and prayer. The Gospels record multiple times when He withdrew to desolate places after busy periods of healing the sick and teaching large crowds (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16).
He also fasted for 40 days before starting His ministry, perhaps purifying body and soul for the tasks ahead (Matthew 4:2).
One insightful story is when Jesus stayed behind to rest by a well while His disciples went into town to buy food. When they returned, Jesus declined their invitation to eat, simply stating “I have food to eat that you do not know about…My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
(John 4:32,34). This illustrates Jesus being refreshed by quiet communion with God rather than through physical sustenance.
Clearly, Jesus understood that self-care through prayerful solitude, fasting and resting in God’s presence equips people for the stresses of life. As modern culture grows increasingly frenetic, Christians should follow their Savior’s example by regularly withdrawing from busyness to rediscover their spiritual nourishment.
Having a Sound Mind
Renewing Our Minds
Having a sound mind is crucial for living a fulfilled, purposeful life. As Christians, we can renew our minds through God’s Word and by focusing our thoughts on Him (Romans 12:2). Here are some ways to renew our minds:
- Read the Bible daily – God’s Word washes and renews our minds. Set aside quiet time to read Scripture.
- Memorize verses – Choose key verses about renewal and meditation. Reciting them will transform thinking.
- Pray continually – Ask God to align thoughts and attitudes with His will. Prayers reprogram our minds.
- Replace negative thoughts – Don’t dwell on worries or regrets. Counter pessimism with truths from Scripture.
- Practice gratitude – Thank God for blessings and trials which He can use for growth. Gratitude produces optimism.
- Listen to uplifting content – Sermons, worship music and podcasts can positively influence thinking.
As we renew our minds, we’ll experience the peace and stability promised in Isaiah 26:3. Our outlook will become more positive, and we’ll respond to life’s challenges with faith rather than fear. Regular spiritual renewal detaches us from worldly values and helps us embrace God’s priorities.
Focusing on Things That Are Noble, Right, Pure
In Philippians 4:8, Paul encourages focusing our thoughts on virtues like purity, righteousness and praise. Setting our minds on moral excellence pleases God and benefits us too. Here’s how to think on uplifting things:
- Limit unhealthy media – Reduce time spent listening to or reading content that promotes impurity, violence, greed etc.
- Monitor thoughts – When you catch yourself dwelling on the negative, consciously redirect your mind to something good.
- Talk with positive people – Surround yourself with friends who’ll build you up through edifying conversations.
- Serve others – Get involved in ministry and channel mental energy towards making a difference.
- Express gratitude – Start a gratitude journal listing things you’re thankful for. This conditions you to focus on the positive.
- Meditate on Scripture – internalize Bible verses on ethical living. Putting Scripture in your mind prevents polluting it.
Setting our minds on things which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable takes some work initially. But the effort is well worth it. With practice, our thoughts will default to uplifting concepts instead of negative ones. As our minds are transformed, so are our actions and attitudes.
An emphasis on Christian virtues will help us reflect more and more of Christ’s image.
Recognizing Our Worth in Christ
We Are Created in God’s Image
As children of God, our worth is inherent in the fact that we are made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). This gives us innate value that cannot be earned or lost. Knowing that we reflect God’s glory helps us recognize our worth regardless of our feelings of inadequacy or the flaws we perceive in ourselves.
Though we are imperfect, God sees us as His precious creation that He made lovingly with His own hands (Psalm 139:13-14). When we understand our identity as image-bearers of an almighty, creative, and loving God, we grasp how cherished we are in His eyes.
Furthermore, recognizing that all people bear God’s image cultivates respect and compassion for others. Though our outward differences may divide us, our shared identity as God’s handiwork unites us in a profound way (Acts 17:26).
This spiritual equality stems from our origin in the Creator rather than worldly factors like race, gender, or social status. With this lens, we look beyond superficial distinctions to honor the intrinsic worth in every human being. This outlook transforms how we live alongside our neighbors.
God Loves Us Unconditionally
Central to understanding our worth is trusting that God loves us unconditionally. Nothing we do earns us God’s love, and nothing we do makes Him love us any less. His love originates from who He is, not what we make of ourselves (1 John 4:10).
Even when we were mired in sin, Christ showed His love by dying for us (Romans 5:8). This sacrificial love redeemed us while we were still sinners, demonstrating our worth to God.
God not only loves us freely but also infinitely. His love has no limits or breaking points. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness for us (Psalm 103:11). Without restraint, He pours out His love and mercy every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Believing in God’s unwavering love protects us from feelings of unworthiness. His endless love also empowers us to love ourselves as He lovingly designed us to be. As we receive God’s unconditional love, our lives overflow with purpose, joy, and love for others.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Jesus Models Healthy Boundaries
Jesus provides an excellent model of setting healthy interpersonal boundaries according to the Bible. Though infinitely compassionate, Jesus maintained boundaries to protect his time and energy for accomplishing his God-given purpose (Mark 1:35-39).
He often withdrew to desolate places to pray, replenishing through solitude with the Father. Once refreshed, he returned to preaching and healing, energized by aligned purpose rather than ego. Jesus also set firm boundaries regarding harmful behaviors, boldly overturning merchants’ tables in the temple (John 2:13-17).
He severed ties with those exhibiting spite and pride, stating truth unapologetically. Though uncompromising toward behaviors causing harm, Jesus maintained an attitude of unconditional love and compassion toward people themselves.
Healthy interpersonal boundaries involve distinguishing between innocent mistakes and intentional misconduct, responding appropriately while retaining empathy.
Like Jesus, setting healthy boundaries mitigates exhaustion and resentment, providing emotional and mental space to nourish core purpose. Schedule alone time for self-care practices supporting inner peace and centered clarity.
Limit exposure to draining media, conversations or people sabotaging values. Seek truthful yet compassionate accountability regarding unhealthy behaviors causing self-harm. Establish dealbreaker standards without judgement, knowing when to walk away.
Apply wisdom when being asked for too much, saying “no” to maintain balance between giving and receiving while avoiding martyrdom. Place principles over popularity and courage over comfort, no matter the disapproval faced.
Healthy boundaries filter out distractions to nurture the still, small voice within.
Give Yourself Time for Silence and Solitude
Solitude and silence are essentially important for self-love and setting healthy emotional boundaries. With over 85% of the populace constantly connected via technology (Pew Research), turning off devices allows stillness to be heard underneath the busyness.
Establish tech-free zones in your home or workplace to honor space for reflection. Similarly, resist overscheduling by designating “white space” on your calendar. Include generous margins around social commitments, preserving energy between activities.
Consult your unique introvert/extrovert temperament, ensuring adequate solitary restoration before external stimulation. Without sufficient down-time, even delightful pursuits become depleting. Monitor yourself for early overextension signs like impatience or irritability, adjusting pace before reaching exhaustion.
Treat sacred solitude as self-care rather than selfishness, going on periodic one-day personal retreats if possible.
To nurture self-love through silence, incorporate contemplative practices like prayer, mindfulness meditation, walking in nature or journaling. Reduce mental clutter by limiting unnecessary noise and news ingestion. Set devices on do-not-disturb mode during designated quiet times.
Silence calms the nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscles and relieves stress (WebMD). Its spaciousness welcomes inspiration otherwise drowned out by perpetual input. Regular silence fosters connection with your inner wisdom, bringing awareness to once-muffled intuition and creativity.
Treat quietude with at least equal regard to activity, remembering forced productivity at the expense of peace breeds discontent. Nourish your whole being through loving patience with yourself in stillness.
The bible has much to say about self love through principles of honoring our bodies, resting, renewing our minds, understanding our worth, and setting healthy limits. While we are called to love others, we cannot do that fully without loving ourselves first.
Self love allows us to be empowered to serve God and others from a place of wholeness and peace.