An affection for my reflection…

Narcissus was a mythological figure in ancient Greek culture whose love for his own beauty caused him to treat others poorly.  His punishment from the gods was that he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and he ended up starving to death because he could not break away from his affection for his reflection.

Here is a newsflash!  We all have an “affection for our reflection.”  We love ourselves, hate ourselves, talk to ourselves, think about ourselves, beat ourselves up, prop ourselves up, and we give ourselves pep talks…  Self is at the center of many people.  The word for this is self centered.

But like Narcissus, this preoccupation with self is starving us to death.  There is a sentence from the bible that describes the original Narcissus, Satan.  It says “his wisdom became corrupted because of his splendor.”  In other words, his self centeredness made him do the stupid.  Flash-forward and we’re neck deep in a world of self centeredness that is causing us to stockpile our own case of the stupid.

Self centeredness is really hard to see in the mirror because self centeredness corrupts our wisdom.  Self centeredness makes us seem wise in our own eyes even when we are not.  Self centeredness always leads to self destruction.  Self centeredness is not an action but rather an addiction to self and it gets its destructive power from the doors it opens in our lives.  Self centered living opens the door to being stupid.   One can do right things in a self centered manner and over time distort the beauty of righteousness.

I believe one of the primary expressions of self centered living is covetousness.  Covetousness is the desire to want for your self what others have.  One writer in the bible said that when he learned covetousness he ended up opening the door to all kinds of sinfulness.  Self centeredness has the desire to take from others for the sake of self.  Make your mental list.  Lust comes from self centeredness.  Greed comes from self centeredness.  Power grabbing comes from self centeredness.  Conflict arises out of self centeredness.  Much fear, anger, jealously, bitterness spring from the soil of self centeredness.  I confess; there is no one who gets as much of my thoughts as me and the pivotal “stupid’s” in my life all entered through the doors self centeredness opened.

Good news; there is a mirror that reveals self centeredness.  No, it is not our children, our parents, our spouses or our friends.  These relationships can help us close the doors but to truly see differently, the real mirror is the reflection God’s Spirit creates for us in the bible.

Here is the catch, it is one thing to see and another to change.  One bible writers put it this way.  If we hear the word but do nothing about what we hear, were like a person who looks into a mirror but does nothing to make what he sees different.  He goes on to say that one of the bench marks of doing what the word says is selfless living.  Here is the trap.  Some reading this will feel a spark in their heart and then by themselves will try to live out what God’s Spirit reveals in the word…  can we say together now; self centered.  The bible gets traction in our lives when it enters our heart, once there the bible is designed to fuel the life of Christ in us.  I do not read and do the bible so I can be better, I read and do the bible so that the life of Christ can be lived through me.  Let me finish with one of my favorite sentences from the bible.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on December 10, 2010.

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