…And that’s not a good thing.

2 Timothy 3:1-2
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…

One of the sacred cows of popular psychology is that most of your confidence problems can be attributed to a failure to love yourself.  Biblically, however, the problem is not loving yourself; in fact, the Bible teaches that we naturally love ourselves.  This is evidenced by the fact that we take care of ourselves (Ephesians 5:29), making sure we get enough to eat or drink, seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, etc.  Even someone who commits suicide is doing so out of his own interest — he believes that ultimately it will relieve himself of pain.

The problem is that love for ourselves can in fact be a problem.  It can overshadow our love for others, in violation of God’s commandment:  “In humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).  It can be a symptom of pride — that we treasure ourselves more than we treasure others — more than we treasure God himself.

This kind of thinking is a major source of sinful behavior.  I see it in myself when I succumb to laziness or when my words are intended to build up my own reputation rather than building up others.  Quite frankly, I love myself a lot, and I don’t need other people to tell me to do it more.  Rather, I need to be reminded of the greatest commandment:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).