Augustine described the love that we are to have for God as “the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and of one’s neighbour for the sake of God.” To love God is to enjoy Him above everything and everyone else and out of that joy to live in glad obedience to His will.
But Jesus does not stop there. He goes on to teach us that, after loving God supremely, our next greatest responsibility is to love people sincerely. Contrary to what some teach about this, Jesus is not commanding self-love. Nor should His words be taken to imply that we cannot love others until we learn to love ourselves.
Jesus assumes that we already do love ourselves. Paul explicitly makes this point by noting that “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Eph. 5:29). This kind of natural self-love is manifested by the choices that we make to serve our own interests. No matter how destructive such choices are, they are expressions of self-love.