Loving Ourselves Correctly: Defined by God
The biblical doctrine of grace gives us a picture of ourselves that is humbling, but it does so without tearing us down or degrading us. This is because who we are is defined by Christ’s work, and not our own. We put our confidence not in our flesh but in the work of Christ (Philippians 3:3).
Defined by God
It’s important to see ourselves as God sees us. There’s no shortage of self-help books and formulas for loving and elevating the true you. But in truth, the true you is who you are in Jesus. The Scriptures tell us to look to Him, not to ourselves, for the solutions we need. So to love ourselves correctly means seeing ourselves as God sees us. How do we see ourselves as God sees us? This is not automatic. It takes time and training. It takes intentionality.
Paul exhorts believes in his letter to the Romans to
not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
Jesus tells His disciples in the Gospel of John:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34–35)
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:15; 23–24)
We come to see ourselves as God sees us by renewing our minds with steady exposure to God’s Word. Indeed, we cannot know how God sees us unless we know what He says about us. But it also requires our intentional participation in the fellowship of believers through acts of love and service to one another. In this way others may know the love of Christ in action through His people.
Who Does God Say We Are?
Where to begin? Consider meditating on the following verses and biblical affirmations about your identity in Christ. From there, finds ways to bring these truths to others in your immediate context as you seek to love and serve others in Christ:
- I am a child of God.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)
- I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:1, 5)
- I am a friend of Jesus.
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
- I have been justified and redeemed.
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)
Consider the following for additional reading about your identity in Christ: Who Does God Say I Am.
This study is based on “Facet 1: Relational Spirituality” in Ken Boa’s Conformed to His Image: Biblical, Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation, rev. ed.