Wednesday: Love of Self

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3, NKJV).

God said, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (Ezek. 28:17, NKJV). Lucifer deceived himself, thinking he was greater than he really was. When he said in his heart, “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14, NKJV), he revealed self-ambition, claiming rights that he did not have. Self-deception and self-ambition were two traits of Lucifer’s fallen heart.

These texts about the fall of Lucifer should tell us that, in many ways, the original sin is that of narcissism, which one dictionary defines as “inordinate fascination with oneself; self-love, vanity.” What traits, in any fallen human being, are greater indicators of self-deception than these?

Yet these traits are more common than one might think. Nebuchadnezzar arrogantly thought he was greater than he was (Dan. 4:30).The Pharisees also learned to believe this seductive fantasy (see Luke 18:11-12). Wealth, too, can lead to this same deception, if we are not careful.

Read 1 Timothy 6:10. What danger is Paul warning about here?

Paul instructs Timothy to beware of many bad kinds of people (2 Tim. 3:1-5), including “lovers of money” (NKJV). This love of money can encourage overconfidence and a grandiose attitude of self-absorption and conceit. This is because materialism imbues people who have great possessions with an inflated sense of importance. It’s easy, when one has a lot of money, to think more highly of oneself than one should. After all, everyone wants to be rich, but only a very few make it. Hence, it is easy for the rich to become self-absorbed, proud, and boastful.

Read Philippians 2:3. How does this verse help us understand why materialism, and the attitudes it can foster, are so contrary to the Christian ideal?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons