In addition to wars and societal chaos predicted for the last days, the Bible also predicts great Spiritual activity at the time of the end--an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh and the world-wide preaching of the gospel (see Matt. 24:14 & Acts 2:17). This blog is dedicated to encouraging Christians around the world to pray and believe for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on their land and in their churches.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
NARCISSISM, SELF-LOVE & THE BIBLE
But know this,
that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be
lovers of themselves . . . having a form of godliness but
denying its power. And from such people, turn away (II Timothy 3:1-5).
In vs. 2 of the above passage, Paul says a characteristic
of the last days will be that people will be lovers of themselves. This
is narcissism. The word narcissism is derived from Narcissus, a handsome young
man of Greek mythology whose self-fixation led to his demise.
Faint with thirst from his travels one
day, Narcissus came to a quiet, still stream in the woods. Crouching over to
take a drink, he was struck by his own reflection in the water. Staring into
the water at his own reflection, Narcissus fell in love with himself. So
enamored was he with his own beauty, Narcissus refused to move to either eat or
drink and finally died, gazing at himself in the water.
Selfishness Cloaked in Godliness
Modern psychology has taken this mythical
story and its central figure, Narcissus, and constructed some elaborate theories
from it. My purpose in this article is to simply show how the “self-love” illustrated
by this story, is rampant in the church today.
Paul says that such self-love will be a
characteristic of the last days. “Lovers of themselves” is a translation of the
one Greek word philautoi, which literally means “self-lovers.” The word "form" in vs. 5 is from the Greek word morphe, which refers to the outward appearance
of a thing. Paul is saying that in the last days people will be self-lovers and
will cloak their selfishness with a form or appearance of godliness. Have you
noticed how rampant this is in the church today!
The American Narcissistic Gospel
I heard a well-known TV preacher
explain why she was divorcing her husband, who was also a pastor. In her mind she had spiritually
grown past their relationship and it was time for her to move on. It was such a
clear example of this passage—narcissism cloaked in the appearance of
This sort of self-centered attitude has become
characteristic of the American gospel. No call to discipleship. No indication
of the need to be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ. Just send your
offering and everything will be OK. In this narcissistic gospel, God exists for
no higher purpose than to meet the selfish wishes and whims of fallen humanity.
What a tragedy!
Take Up Your Cross & Follow Jesus
On the other hand, when did you last hear
a message on the words of Jesus in Matt. 16:24-25,
If anyone desires to come after Me, let
him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to
save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
When the disciples heard these words, they
knew it was a call to let go of their lives--to die to self.
Watch His Resurrection Life Break
This is not something morbid; for it is
only when we let go of our own life that we find His resurrection life working
in us and on our behalf. During one of the most devastating times of my life, I
heard the Holy Spirit say, “Don’t be afraid of death, for I am the
So, go ahead, let go of your life—die to
self-- and watch His resurrection life break forth as the morning Sun. And
remember the prayer of Francis of Assisi;
Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to
console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.