rebelling against low expectations

The Real Problem with Self-Love



I’ve recently noticed a movement focused on this topic of “self-love.”

The basic idea seems to be to encourage ourselves to take care of our bodies, to take time to exercise, or eat healthy, or relax, or whatever it may be that our body needs.

Taking care of ourselves, I have no problem with. It’s good for people to see the need to care for their own body and it’s a very healthy thing to do—in more ways than one. In fact, you can love others more and care for others better if you are taking the time to first properly care for yourself.

The Real Problem with “Self-Love”

But what does bother me is the catch-phrase used to describe this movement: self-love.

It also bothers me the way Christians talk about self-love. It honestly sounds extremely self-centered. It puts all the focus onto myself—my wants, my needs, what I need to do to take care of me. Everything becomes about me. What bothers me is that as Christians, our focus should not be on ourselves.

Our focus should be clear: God first. Others second. As followers of Christ, we are not to be self-focused.

How Should Christians Respond?

Is the whole idea of self-love wrong? No. But the way we talk about it as believers is wrong.

Growing up, my mom has always been a strong advocate of taking care of our bodies, whether in eating well or drinking plenty of water or exercise. But she never once called it self-love. It was always for God’s glory and it was always solidly Biblical.

Taking care of our bodies is Biblical, but never once does God call it self-love. We are commanded to care for our bodies as believers because it glorifies God. Taking care of our bodies shows our love for God. Yes, in doing so we show love for our own body, too, but ultimately it puts the focus on God and not on ourself.

Scriptures tells us to both use and care for our bodies for God’s glory. Check these out:

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercy of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Taking care of our own bodies is a Biblical command. We are commanded to care for the body God gave us for his glory because our body is not our own and has been bought by his precious blood.

So, friends, let me challenge you: if you are a believer and a part of the self-love movement, take a minute to reconsider what it really means and stands for. Instead of promoting self-love, will you proclaim God’s glory, by caring for the body he gave you?

Let’s turn our focus away from ourselves and onto God.

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About the author

Hannah Foster

Hannah Foster is a graduate of Bethlehem College and Seminary with a bachelor’s degree in History of Ideas. She loves a well written book, two favorite authors being Jane Austin and L. M. Montgomery. She also enjoys writing, desiring that her words bring comfort and hope to those who have experienced deep suffering through the loss of a loved one. You can also find her crocheting, creating art, and watching western shows while spending time with her husband.

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By Hannah Foster
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →