14139726176_639003e30d_k

The Truth About Narcissistic Obsession

Something has been stirring in my heart for some time and it is14139726176_639003e30d_k something I’ve shied away from addressing until I could really allow the Lord to examine my own heart in the matter. The subject at hand is narcissism and at first glance, we see a topic that brings overtly negative connotations. However, if you know God’s Word, and take a look at the concept of total depravity, it should be absolutely no surprise to any of us that we are all guilty of it.

If you have seen the reaction of children that didn’t get their way or been behind someone at Starbucks who’s angry that his order isn’t right, then you’ve seen first hand, the grotesqueness of self-focus.

 

If you have seen the reaction of children that didn’t get their way or been behind someone at Starbucks who’s angry that his order isn’t right, then you’ve seen first hand, the grotesqueness of self-focus.

 

I have, of course, witnessed many of these instances in my own life and those around me, but the day it dawned on me that we are dealing with a whole new level of self-adoration, was while working out at the gym.  Sure there are people looking at themselves in the mirror while lifting weights, or admiring how they look in their work out clothes while walking in front of their reflection, but this was above and beyond.

I was doing my thing on the elliptical while staring off at one of the five televisions overhead, one of which was a morning news channel.  The host was interviewing a celebrity that had come on to promote her new book that basically was an entire album of “selfies” that she had taken of herself.  At first I just listened and was intrigued, but the more I thought about it, the more I was disturbed at how this was actually reflective of a culture that has become extremely accepting of narcissistic behaviors, even to the point of making a profit on it.  As I began to unpack the idea of living in a narcissistic generation, one that I believe has been exacerbated by social media, the more I began to look inward and grieve.  Narcissism by definition is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or an admiration of one’s own attributes.  At the heart of it is the idolatry of adoration and the worship of self.  Even as I type this, I tremble, because I have to confess that on a bad day, I can want accolades for my accomplishments for my own gratification and glory.

As I began to unpack the idea of living in a narcissistic generation, one that I believe has been exacerbated by social media, the more I began to look inward and grieve.

 

I don’t think I’m alone either. I think it’s a monster that we all wrestle and absolutely must take before the Lord. He is the One who weighs our hearts and He is the One who exposes the wickedness and darkness deep within. If you’ve spent five minutes on social media, chances are you’ve come across “selfies” that people have taken of themselves; it’s pretty commonplace in our world. I also think if everyone’s honest, the personae most of us like to give while posting pictures is one of looking good and having it all together. We like to get just the right angle, just the right lighting, or portray our lives or children as put together. And we probably took fifteen shots before getting the one we thought was acceptable (just admit it).

Now before stones start flying, can we all just agree to humbly ask the Lord about this? I am in no way saying that posting cute pictures, or even “selfies” for that matter, on social media is wrong. But what I am saying is that we need to evaluate the “why” behind what we are posting and ask the Lord to weed out selfish ambition, self-gratification, and narcissism.

Living in such a high traffic social media society, I think we often forget that the 752 Facebook friends we have are seeing everything we post. I’m confident it could do all of us some good to not only evaluate our own hearts and motivations before the Lord, but also to become a little more aware of how we are representing Christ through what we say and what we post.  That being said, a few questions I think could be helpful are: What is my heart motivation for posting this? Why am I posting this and for what purpose? Is this post honoring, beneficial, and appropriate?

 

I’m confident it could do all of us some good to not only evaluate our own hearts and motivations before the Lord, but also to become a little more aware of how we are representing Christ through what we say and what we post.

 

We all the have the same opportunity and choice every single day to either die to self or to appease our selfish appetites. And this is not of ourselves; we desperately need a Helper, through whose power we can put off the hideous, ugly, and selfish desire for admiration. The beautiful example we see is God’s son Himself “who, though He was God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2: 6-7)

Jesus stunningly portrays ultimate humility in His life, death and resurrection. There is nothing self-serving about him and He is the God of the universe, the Creator of all living things, the Savior of the World. It is Jesus Himself that deserves all the glory, admiration, and worship; it is He whom our eyes should be upon, not ourselves.

The truth is, the Good News of Jesus leaves absolutely no room for narcissism. When our gaze is so certainly and undeniably focused on Him, our motivations toward self admiration are squashed. Self-forgetfulness actually begins when we remember Whom we belong to and where our identity is established.

“He chose us in him before the foundation of the world…In love he predestined us for adoption as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace…In Him we have obtained an inheritance…so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1: 4-12)

Some of the most beautiful and refreshing people to spend time around are those who ooze Jesus and don’t care a flying flip what their hair looks like or if they have a double chin in a picture. Perhaps if we began viewing ourselves through His eyes and the great lengths He went through to love us, save us, and give us a new identity, our worries of being good enough according to the world’s standards would fall to the wasteside.

 

May we be remembered not for how great our “selfie” was, but by how selfless we were in giving our lives away for His name’s sake.

 

May our lives be marked with an insatiable desire to know Christ and to make Him known. May we be remembered not for how great our “selfie” was, but by how selfless we were in giving our lives away for His name’s sake. And may we be a generation known for it’s noble pursuits of Him rather than its narcissism.

 

Did you like today’s post? Be sure to subscribe to our email list and for a limited time, receive our FREE eBook Overcoming the Darkness, as our thanks to you!

Image Credit:  Paško Tomić, Creative Commons


Jen Rumley

About

Jen Rumley is a wife to a pastor hubby and a mom to three little boys on earth and one in Heaven. She is learning to break free of the shackles of insecurity and people pleasing, and grateful for a God who is patient in her struggles with pride and selfishness. She loves all things people, especially over coffee and good food, but cherishes her alone time that she sneaks in ever so often. She is a recovering control freak and is learning to embrace the thick dust that often lays piled up on furniture in her home, along with dried food smudges left by kiddos. If there were two things that she hopes her life would be marked by would be that she loved God and loved people well.


Copyright © 2014 Self Talk the Gospel. All Rights Reserved.