TO LIVE FOR THE MOMENT IS THE PREVAILING PASSION – TO LIVE FOR YOURSELF, NOT FOR YOUR PREDECESSORS OR POSTERITY. LITTLE HAS CHANGED SINCE THOSE WORDS WERE WRITTEN. LITTLE HAS HAPPENED TO CHALLENGE OUR OBSERVATION THAT “SELF-ABSORPTION IS THE CLIMATE OF CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY”
As our society moves increasingly away from biblical roots, many forces conspire to fill the place most societies reserve for GOD with “self”. Values are determined by such ideas as “loving yourself is the greatest love of all”; I need to feel good about myself”. “Self” has become the ultimate source of truth and value, and we are told that the answer to life is found in our self-esteem, our positive self-image, our unconditional positive self-regard.
Humanists, paradoxically strip us of our true dignity as creatures formed in the image of GOD when they call us to affirm that there is nothing higher and more dignified than human existence. The human self, they claim, is the source of true value. New Age selfists have come along with different worldview but a similar anthem. “Find the good within you. There is no GOD ‘out there’. Discover your inner divinity and the awesome power of the self”.
What we believe and feel about ourselves obviously is important. The problem lies not with the concepts of “self-fulfillment” or “self-image” per se. Only when HOD is truly seen for who HE is can we see ourselves for who we are.
Meaning comes only when life is theocentric, not egocentric. That is a truth presented powerfully in one of our Savior’s most familiar stories, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, found in Luke 18:9-14.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘GOD I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers, – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘GOD, have mercy on me, a sinner.
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before GOD. For everyone who exalts himself, will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
When we see ourselves in the light of GOD’s forgiveness, regeneration, and justification, we see our “selves” biblically and healthfully. Self-fulfillment is not the product of the self-absorption and self-edification. To know GOD truly, to bow before HIM humbly, to believe HIM gladly – those are the pillars of a godly and realistic self-image.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY.