Posted in Devotion

Imago Dei vs. Self-Love

“So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27

Right off the bat, lets clear up some definitions here. “Imago Dei” is translated as “the image of God.” As we can see in Genesis 1:27, humankind was made in the image of God in the creation story.  Self-love is usually defined briefly as love of self. However, something we learn very early is to not use the word in the definition, so let’s try again. Self-love is “belief that you are a valuable and worthy person (Self-Love).”

Now that we are on the same page, we can clear up a common misconception between these two terms. Often, the ability to love ourselves, when in constant battle with ourselves, is nearly impossible. Some days it seems to be easier than others, but most days we struggle to see ourselves of any worth. Here’s the good news though: God has created You in God’s image, sent Jesus to live, die, and resurrect for you, and there is nothing you can think, say, or do to have God see you any differently.

That being said, your worth and value comes from something more than yourselves. Your worth and value can never change. Whether you see that value and worth is not a question of whether you are worthy and valuable. Therefore in our moments of the lack of self-love, we are not denying our imago dei. We are not denying that we are created in the image of God. We are having difficulty seeing that worth and value in ourselves. We are in a moment of trial and struggle.

What can we do about it? We can remind ourselves that our worth and value does not depend on whether we give it to ourselves or not; it is always there. We can have faith that we are worthy and valuable and hold on to that eternal truth found in Genesis 1:27 when we are unable to see it for ourselves.


Almighty God, ever-loving and always present. You created us in Your image. You have decided our worth and value when You sent Your Son to die for us, and then You took that and raised him from the dead to show that You make all things good. God, help us to remember what You think about us when all we see in ourselves is less than unworthy. Help us hold that truth that nothing we can think, do, or say will cause You too see us in any other way. Thank You for always pushing me to be who You say I am.


© 2019 Kiersten Smeal


Currently down the path to become a pastor in the United Methodist Church. I have suffered with anxiety for years and am hoping to bring comfort to those who suffer with anxiety without help from the church.

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