Loving Oneself, Part 2
The Validity and Benefits of Good Self-Care, Part 2
by Jim Walter, ThM
In our previous post, we focused on some general insights from Scripture concerning why loving ourselves—good self-care—doesn’t have to be selfish, but rather is essential to loving God and loving others.
Now let’s consider some specifics regarding for HOW to love ourselves and practice good, biblically sound self-care. We begin with a “beam of light” from the book of Proverbs:
It is good self-care to…
According to Proverbs 19:8, "To acquire wisdom is to love oneself. People who cherish understanding will prosper," (New Living Translation).
There it is! Could it be any clearer? It’s very OK to love oneself, and acquiring wisdom—cherishing understanding—is one way to practice it!
But why is acquiring wisdom a way to love ourselves?
Because living wisely will help us prosper! It’s really good for us!
So what does it mean to be acquiring wisdom and then living wisely?
It means doing life according to God’s will and ways, not just doing the right things, but doing the right things informed by and motivated by His perspective, His way of seeing what’s happening, His way of seeing the people involved, including us. It requires the humility to admit that we don’t have everything figured out…that we are depending on Him.
But how do we “acquire wisdom” and “cherish understanding”?
1. Ask God for wisdom.
James 1:5 promises, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking,” (New Living Translation).
One of my go-to questions in prayer is, “Dear Lord, what do you want me to know right now? What do you want me to know about ________?” Asking Him what He wants us to do is also a good question, but maybe there’s some wisdom, insight, or perspective that God wants to give us first, before He gives direction…Ask Him!
2. Observe and study the embodiment of Wisdom: Jesus!
He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” Matthew 11:28-29, New English Translation).
Let’s come to Him and learn from Him! How?
Dig into His teachings: The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), His parables (Luke 15 and many others), His sometimes tense interactions with the religious leaders of His day (John 5, John 8).
Watch and learn from how He related to people, especially hurting, marginalized people (The outcast woman at the well in John 4; Zacchaeus the despised tax collector in Luke 19—so many examples).
And when we learn from Jesus, we are learning from our Father in Heaven because Jesus depended on His Father for everything: “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me,” (John 14:10).
3. Hang out with other wise people…observe them, ask lots of questions, and listen to them.
Who do you know that you and others perceive to be wise? How might you learn from them, gain some of their wisdom? Take them to breakfast, lunch, or coffee?
Dr. Jim Wilder is one of the most insightful, genuinely wise people I have known. He happens to have many recorded teachings called J.I.M. (Jesus in Mind) Talks. I have heard and processed many hours of his wisdom derived from the wisdom of God’s word. They can be purchased at Jesus in Mind: Talks on Kingdom Life
4. Soak in the Wisdom books of the Bible: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job.
Each of these books offer a rich, but different “flavor” of wisdom. For a very insightful presentation of what each book offers and how together they express the fullness of divine wisdom, engage with the BibleProject Wisdom series
Yes, getting wisdom is great self-care!
“Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer,” (Proverbs 9:11-12, New Living Translation).
Next time we will explore more ways to practice loving ourselves!