I mentioned I had some good things to share from Sunday. So, if you are still interested, keep reading………
My pastor preached this Sunday about Intimidators, the things/people/places/issues that get into our life, take control, and tell us what to do. He built off 1 Samuel, the story of David and Goliath, noting 3 big intimidators: A God Denying Secularism, A Pervasive Immorality, and A Rampant Narcissism. Although all 3 have good points, I am going to share about just one, and I am going to use his words as a catalyst for my own paraphrase and thoughts, since being completely verbatim would be impossible here.
Narcissism: inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.
Do you know one? Are you one?
The Bible tells us that narcissists will be rampant in the end of times: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Narcissism turns God into god. He no longer reigns supreme, but instead, The Lord of Heaven and Earth becomes lower case, and we turn ourselves into the top dog.
According to my pastor, we try to “make God do for [us] what [we] want Him to do.” This made me think about something I saw recently. My mom is remodeling portions of her house, and her co-worker’s husband, her contractor, is a Hispanic man named Jesus. Obviously that name is said differently than we English speakers say Christ’s, but when you see it in writing, there is not that clarification. Mom had made a list of things she wanted Jesus to do for her. While at her house, I saw the list. Now, I knew it was for the contractor, but I could not help but think about how many times we make a list for Jesus Christ, telling Him all the things we want fixed in our lives. We think everything is all about us, but as we’ve heard coined from Dr. Phil, “It’s not about you!”
When we have in our minds what we want and we do not get it, my pastor noted that a rage emerges within us. We act like a child, get angry and fussy, perhaps throw a fit. We make a fool of ourselves all on the account of not getting what the self wants. This spirit has to be forced into submission, albeit hard to acquiesce.
Lack of faith, attitudes, neglected church attendance, etc. are all rationalized by the narcissist because she does not like the way it makes her feel. We say things like, “That church’s music is too loud; the building is too cold,” “I hate Bible study because I have to get up so early,” or “I just can’t believe in that because it makes me uncomfortable.” We say those things and consider ourselves justified, for it’s all about what we think and feel and want, right? We’ll say it and believe it, yet we will go early to tailgate, stand in the freezing cold to cheer, and believe that a man of flesh will not let us down; this drive up the field will be successful. Simply because of “a ball, a stick, and a net” we will yield to anything asked of us. We’ll cede to to the requests to stand and cheer but we somehow will not relinquish control to God. We’ll train a child to use “a ball, a stick, and a net BUT he is not taught [selflessness] and moral character” (*cough* Tiger Woods).
We’ve melded ourselves into the world by our own account. We’ve done it because it is easier, and now we can not tell who the opposition is. We’re suppose to be in the world but not of it. But because of a “me” focus, we’ve let go of Him.
So, how do we fix narcissism?
*Tap into the innocence of a Christ-Changed Life. Christians are the salt and light in this bland and dark world. We are “the antidote to the infection.” There is a panacea, and His name is Jesus Christ. To use a Christian cliche, “Let go and let God.” As a Christian, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
*Strive for A Spirited Life. The visible presence of those fruits is evidence of Christ. As an old favorite hymn from college says “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
*Wear the armor of A God-Equipped Life. And we must be familiar and comfortable with this God ordained equipment if we want to fight Intimidators. “Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:38-40 When we know God’s word and have studied it to be true, we can overcome what is against us.
So what does that rock represent? It is to remind of the armor and equipment of David. Not that we are to necessarily sling our riverstone, like David did, but the rock is to remind us that we are put in places and prepared to conquer an intimidator, even if it is giant sized; even if it is yourself. We’ve been given what it takes; we just have to choose to do it!
Whew! Hope that made a little sense! If you got this far, thanks for hanging with me :O)