“When we learn to love ourselves, we can love God and others.”
This statement generally sends me off the deep end. Oh, if you could just love yourself, everything would be wonderful! If you could just learn to love yourself, you could be right with God and man.
Loving ourselves is what gets us into trouble to begin with! I mean, without realizing that we are sinners in need of a savior…that we are not okay without Christ, and we are in fact dead in our trespasses and sin (cf. Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13)…we are lost. I know a lot of people who love themselves, and this is why they feel they do not need Christ. Satan loved himself and thought he could usurp God. God doesn’t say, “Love yourself first, then you can come to me.” He says, “You have sinned and fall short of my glory” (cf. Romans 3:23). He says, “You deserve death for your sin” (Romans 6:23). He said, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). True love comes from God first and is given to us through Christ.
What if instead of falling for the psychology of the world, we understood who God is and who we are in Christ first? After all, love comes from God (cf. I John 4:7-9…note that in this passage the love referred to is for others not oneself). I love who I am in Christ because of the work Christ did on my behalf. I do not love myself. There is nothing inherent in me that makes me lovable apart from the work Christ has done in my life. Christ’s righteousness transferred to me is what makes me capable of loving God which in turn makes me able to love others. I am last on that list if I make the list at all (cf. Philippians 2:3).
Sometimes I think that the study of psychology puts blinders on our eyes so that we are evaluating God’s Word through it as opposed to evaluating psychology by God’s Word. If Satan can twist things just a little, he can keep more people from truly knowing Christ. It’s like having a glass of cool clear water which is good to drink and refreshing. However, if you put just a drop of arsenic in it (something you cannot see which poisons the water), a drink from the glass leads to death.
Let’s not fall for the tricks, the slight adjustments to truth, which are propagated by the spiritual forces of evil (cf. Ephesians 6:12). Satan has a way of making things that lead to death look good. Just something to think about.