Today’s devotional: Christianity in the age of narcissism

Much has been written in recent years about “Generation Me,” a generation of people obsessed with themselves. Our thoughts and activities, the argument goes, have come to revolve completely around our own wants and needs. Our plans are built around what we want to do. Technology makes it easier than ever to filter out any news, data, politics, or entertainment that we don’t want to see.

If narcissism has come to define our personal lives and social relationships, it’s impossible that it wouldn’t also have an effect on our spiritual lives. It’s tempting to think that people today are more self-absorbed than ever, but Charles Spurgeon—writing over 100 years ago—sharply described the danger of letting your Christian faith get pulled into orbit around your own ego:

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ…. let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.

One of the most basic tenets of Christianity is that we cannot make ourselves right with God through our own efforts. Narcissism tempts us to think that we can—and when we inevitably fail, it tells us that there’s no hope for us. But when we focus our eyes on Jesus, we are saved from our sin… and from the weight of a hollow, self-obsessed life.

One Response to “Today’s devotional: Christianity in the age of narcissism”

  • Sean Scott says:

    This was a really good and needed posting.

    Of course we are selfish, that is part of our sinful nature. Satan does latch on to that aspect of us and uses it to his advantage.

    In Christ, we are “blessed to be a blessing” and “saved to serve.” We are to follow the example of Jesus and be a servant to all, putting the needs of others above the our own desires. That is not to say we should not take care of ourselves, we must eat, rest, and play to refresh and restore our bodies if we to be of any good to others.

    But far too many of us take what we do not need and hoard resources, while far too many others are in desperate need. God may bless us, but is it His blessing that we are driving a gas-guzzling Hummer while children in Asia or Africa have no food? Or is that Satan feeding upon our selfishness?

    Too many have calloused hearts that are hardened but today’s “me me me” society.