Have you ever met a spiritual narcissist?
Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s idealized self-image and attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
Doing all the religious and right things often gives us a feeling of self-importance. As a result, all the praise and the admiration from others can spin out of control very quickly if we aren’t walking in humility. As Christians, we are IN CHRIST!
It’s not about us … but sometimes we like to make it all about US.
When we do that, we trick ourselves into thinking that we don’t need God’s grace and that we can do it without God’s help. This is called works-based salvation. Works-based salvation is a type of spiritual narcissism that can lead to anxiety, loss of important relationships, and eventually lead to burnout.
Narcissism is the reliance on self or knowledge rather than reliance on God and the Holy Spirit.
Self-righteousness is like a bottomless cup; you can pour and pour, you will never be able to fill it. Why? Because pouring yourself into yourself adds nothing to you.
NOTHING + NOTHING always = NOTHING!
Instead, we should accept God’s righteousness rather than trying to accumulate our own. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tell us, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
If we are to be transformed into Christ’s image we have to take off the mask of self-righteousness and allow the Spirit to lead us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~Paul~
Ephesians 2:8-10 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. In just three verses, Paul delivers a powerful message in eleven keywords and phrases. Let’s break it down together:
1. GRACE: By grace, we have the riches of His grace that we could never earn or keep. His Grace is His free gift and His free power available to you as heirs to the Kingdom. So, REJOICE in that!
2. FAITH: The way we receive our salvation is through faith. Faith is not a “work”, it could never be a “work.” It does not merit salvation; it is only the means by which one accepts God’s free gift of salvation.
3. NOT US: There is nothing we could have done or ever could do to receive Him. We need Jesus, even to accept Jesus. He pursues us and calls to us and at the divine moment He set for us, we hear his call and even then we rely on Him to hear about His gift and promise for us.
4. GOD’S GIFT: When a person puts out their hand to take a gift someone else offers, they are doing nothing to earn or deserve that gift. The giver gets credit for the gift, not the receiver. Likewise, faith is the same way.
5. NOT WORKS: Are you trying to work your way into God’s favor, or worse, a never-ending cycle of approval from people? You may even try to stay busy to avoid having to deal with some areas of healing God wants to walk you through. You can do a lot of “right” things, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s THE “God thing” for your life.
6. NO ONE CAN BOAST: All the glory will go to God for accomplishing salvation. As Jesus so graciously reminds us in John 14:6, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s impossible for anyone else to be able to provide salvation.
7. HIS ARTWORK: Rather than salvation being a masterpiece that we have produced, believers are a masterpiece that God has produced. Even though we are all being conformed to His image and walking the same journey through sanctification, we are all different works of art.
8. CREATED IN CHRIST: As a master worker, God has created us in Christ Jesus. It is the kind of work only HE can do. “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.”
9. FOR GOOD WORKS: Good works are not the roots from which salvation grows but the fruit God intends it to bear. When you are led by the Spirit, your tree will be filled with good fruit.
10. GOD PREPARED WORKS: God knew the plans for our life before the creation of the Earth. Nothing surprises Him, even when we try to take matters into our own hands.
11. WALK IN THEM: God orders our steps and has prepared them beforehand. We should go to Him and seeking His plan for our works. Everything we do for the Kingdom should be us walking out God’s plan for our lives, rather than the works we think we should do.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
- Are you trying to do it by yourself?
- Have you allowed spiritual narcissism to drive your motivation?
If you have, it’s ok, there is a solution. Seek His face, spend some time in the Secret Place with the Father and ask Him to show you what He wants you doing.
Don’t become a spiritual narcissist!
Let Jesus drive!