Loving yourself begins and ends with God. The way we view ourselves must be filtered through His point of view, because His is perfect. Anything apart from God is incomplete. Before the foundation of the world, He knew every detail concerning humanity. He knew what have had need of before we were even born, and He made the provision for everything we require. God is a Faithful Father Who loves us deeply. Because He loves us, He wants relationship with us. Before the fall, God had a plan to raise us up. In that plan, He made provision for love. Because of sin, mankind was incapable of perfect love, so He gave us love through the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit begins with love, and all things work by love (see Galatians 5:6, 22). In order for us to receive His Spirit, God gave the Perfect Sacrifice, which is the Perfect Expression of His love. Love begins with surrender, as we will see.
Because God is Love, He does not need a reason to love (see 1Johne 4:8), nor does He have reasons to stop loving. On the other hand, the old nature (or the flesh) often has reasons to love people and reasons to stop loving them. In other words, God’s love is unconditional, and much of humanity’s love is conditional. For example, people love their own family almost to the point of being unconditional. They may even have friends who they love deeply in the same way. However, let a family member or friend “cross the line” somewhere, and they will reject him or her. Furthermore, those outside the family do not have a chance at their love in some cases. Parents generally have unconditional love for their children. Nevertheless, there are those who are incapable of love or at best, do not express love well. How many fathers never became dads? How many have not even accepted their “flesh and blood” as their own? Such rejection greatly impedes the capacity to love and receive love. There are those who say, “If God is a Father, I want nothing to do with Him.” The reason is that they equate the Father with their earthly ones who never loved them. In a number of cases, they were abused by them.
When abuse comes, the ability to receive love disintegrates. If a person feels he or she is only worthy of abuse, he or she will never feel worthy of true love, especially from God the Father. God designed us to receive love as well as give love. When sin and the abuse that came with it entered into the picture, the desire for love and affection became distorted. Even to the point where the negative is easier to receive than the positive. Rejection is easier to receive than acceptance. Why? Because abuse and rejection is “the norm.” Some of the most angry and wrathful people are those who grew in such environments. In many cases (not all), those who are promiscuous are those looking for affection. Yes, there are lust issues to contend with in other cases; however, some promiscuity is rooted in rejection and abuse. Since rejection and abuse are some people’s idea of acceptance and love, they often find themselves in trouble. It has been well documented that those who join gangs are looking for a family to belong. The question is, how much love do they really experience in order to join and remain a member? Do you suppose these are some reasons Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (KJV)? Colossians 3:21 says it this way, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (KJV).
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (KJV). The love of God is perfect because He is perfect. There is no “line” that stops Him from loving us. In fact, because He loves us, He reached “across the line” to us. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (KJV). That does not mean hell and the lake of fire were eliminated. However, because He loves us so much, He made the Way for us to spend eternity with Him. He gives us the decision as to where we spend eternity. Nothing you can do can make Him love you more. Equally, nothing you can do can make Him love you less. If God loves you unconditionally, it is high time for you love yourself unconditionally.
2Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (KJV). One reason we begin our quest for love with God is that He is the Author of it. By yielding to the Holy Spirit, we are free to give and receive love both. God receives love and so should you. The flesh counterfeits love and keeps people from receiving True Love. However, Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (KJV). If you surrender to the Holy Spirit, you will walk in the freedom of Love, and not be enslaved to the flesh. Love destroys the flesh, which is why it fights so hard to keep us from Love.