Self: An Idol?

“When you subtract the religious language, worship is the built-in human reflect to put your hope in something or someone and then chase after it. You hold something up and then give your life to pursuing it. If you live in this world, then sooner or later you grow some assumptions concerning what your life is about, what you should really be going after. And when you begin to align your life with that pursuit, then, whether you realize it or not, you are worshiping.” (Kyle Idleman)

The past few days have been interesting, to say the least. God has been slowly, patiently teaching me lessons about myself. I have learned that I desire other’s approval and love more than God’s, which will ultimately never satisfy to any degree. For a moment, it may provide a confidence boost, but at the end of the day, you need to hear once again that you are good enough. The truth is that when consumed by your every flaw, the kind words of others make little to no impact anyways, because you begin to idolize your perception of yourself. Think about it. To the altar of self, we sacrifice our very own joy and contentment, comparing ourselves to people we were never designed to be in the first-place. Blinded by our own misconceptions, we place no emphasis on how the LORD sees us (a dangerous place to be). And the thoughts of others, no matter how potentially positive they may be, will do nothing to improve your self-image. They will more likely take your day for a nose-dive when someone accidentally slips a mention of one of your flaws.

The danger of being consumed by the raging fires of self is not limited to the destruction of your personal well-being, it also directly affects the relationships you have with others. When everything is about oneself, there is no room for the “other”. Therefore, in a state of self-centered thinking, our interactions will bear little fruit. You will find that in your reactions with others, you are spending the majority of your time attempting to steal the spotlight, fishing for compliments, pity, congratulations, etc. and focusing so little, perhaps not at all, on the other individual.

At the top of this post, I placed a quote from Kyle Idleman, author of “Not A Fan” and “gods at war”. Take a minute to go back and read it carefully. I would like to argue that often we place our hope in ourselves. We pursue the success of self, the glorification of self, and feed the god of pleasure in order to satisfy self. In doing so, we say, “Hey God, love what you’re doing and all, but let’s keep it at arm’s length and not let it affect my comfort, way of life, and ideology behind what is best for me, because after all, that’s what the world is supposed to revolve around, right? Me.”  Consider for a moment what you spend the majority of your time worrying about and taking care of. Is it the LORD’s will for your life, the well-being of others, the less-fortunate? Is it others-oriented at all? If not, you are the god of your own heart. Why? You have placed your faith in yourself, chased after satisfying yourself, and ignored, or at least forgotten, the LORD, and His rightful position as King in your life.

If you rob Christ of the throne in the throne-room of your heart, you are ultimately robbing yourself of joyous contentment. In the same way, friends, when comparing yourself to others (what you are typically doing when focused on self in the first-place, trying to catch up to ‘the Jones’ as my father would say), you are not doing yourself a favor. Comparing oneself to others leads down two paths; prideful arrogance of being “better”, or distraught, depression of being “lesser”. We must not inflict such self-destructive thinking upon ourselves.

Friends, do not allow yourself to be your worst enemy. Stop worshiping the idol of self and return your eyes to Christ. It is there that you will find your identity, wholly redeemed by a perfect King that desires nothing more than your full restoration, to bring Himself glory, and to restore your unhindered fellowship with Him. Walk with me into the unbridled joy of living solely for the LORD and in doing so, being focused on the well-being of others. Take a look at the beauty of God’s creation. If He can sustain all that abounds in this world, then He should have no problem sustaining you.

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