Worshiping the god of Individualism

o-GIRL-IN-MIRROR-facebookOur nation has a new love affair. An all consuming obsession that permeates all aspects of our culture. So many movies, television shows and best selling books are aimed at worshipping a god of the temporal rather than the true God who is eternal. This god is not a person but an identity. The love of ourselves has replaced the love of God and the people in our community. Rather than focusing on making the world a better place, we are now focusing on making ourselves “better”. From the self-help culture to the selfie generation, we are moving towards a worldview that a better self means a better life. The sad truth is that this concept has infected the Church and American Christianity in particular. From Christian “devotionals” that focus on self love to the heresy of prosperity gospel, many Christians are falling on their knees to the god of the individual and are following the rest of the non-believing world on the same path to hell.

The Christian worldview believes that this world is temporal and that we are placed here to love others and to bring glory to God. The Christian believes that the riches of this world are fleeting and that the treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven are eternal. We believe that helping those less fortunate is a solemn command and that loving ourselves makes us incapable of being a disciple of Christ. We believe that the only joy promised in the Bible is the joy given to us for obedience to God. We also believe that suffering is assured in this fallen world and most especially if we are faithful to Christ. The Christian view of the self is that it is part of a whole and is useful only when it is part of the whole. Just like a hand is useful when it is attached to an arm, it becomes useless meat when separated from it. The concept of focusing on self improvement is so counter to the Christian worldview as to be incompatible with a submission to God.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

Notice that the previous verse did not mention that we must focus on loving ourselves, but to focus on loving God and loving others.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26

self-esteemThe modern world says the opposite. We are told to focus on self improvement and to avoid the messiness of other people’s problems. The secular culture is so hyper obsessed with self that they believe that even children should only be born if they are convenient. The world believes that the way God made us is secondary to the way we view ourselves. It believes that gender is a matter of the will and that our identity is something that is based on our own views of ourselves. The sad reality is that this view of self has even effected some people’s theology and their views of Christ, the Bible and of sin.

The obvious progression of an obsession with the importance of self is the belief that we are capable of deciding the will of God rather than subjected to it. If someone can determine their own gender or their own concept of the definition of marriage, why shouldn’t they decide that only certain parts of the Bible are the truth? Then, if these people believe that they are capable of determining which parts of the Bible are in fact the will of God, it only makes sense that their particular sin isn’t really that bad and that God wants them to be happy in that sin, completing the loop where the Christ that saves is replaced with a gospel that damns. Loving God requires us to hate our sin and the definition of sin is focusing on ourselves. If this new culture of the self isn’t a product of the devil, I don’t know what is.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, but we must understand that nowhere in the Bible does it say that we should focus on self improvement outside of God. The Christian worldview regards the individual as being secondary to the Body of Christ. When we focus on ourselves we stop focusing on others and even more dangerous, we stop focusing on God.

Michael Davis
Senior Editor of Veterans to Christ. Served as a Cavalry Scout from 2005-2009. Iraq Veteran.