Monday, November 18, 2019

The Not So New Selfie Age

It’s been a slow boil, a subtle building up, so slight as to be unnoticeable, that it’s practically impossible to pinpoint how it has come to this. Perhaps it was a collective of conditions that have brought us to the narcissistic world of self-absorption and promotion. No doubt social media and cell phones with professional quality cameras have moved us further faster than the days of glamorous magazines and humanistic Live Your Best Life - You’re Okay/I’m Okay gurus could ever have. 

The question is begged though… have we reached the point of no return? What would it take to stop the madness? Is there a reset button? When will we see it’s time to slam on the brakes? Are we destined to end up crashing and bursting into flames? Will we have to be ‘blinded lest we see’? (John 12:40)

I have no answers to those disturbing questions. All I know is that self-focus, self-centeredness is epidemic and, even worse, is embraced and accepted as the new norm. We are mentored and encouraged to be ever cognizant of our emotional temperature, the health of our internal state of being, which has fostered a societal demand for constant self-assuring, self-inspiring, self-loving to hedge against self-loathing. 

Not surprisingly, self-focus has become a vehicle for promoting what seems, in a worldly view, to be what I have often referred to as Good for Goodness Sake illusion, a great pretender, a substitute goodness that fusses and flurries and dresses itself up to replace genuine Godly goodness. 

Ironic, isn’t it, that if we were properly focused on Godly good, we would be completely redirected away from the need to be identified with self-good.

Unlike SELF goodness, Real Deal Godly Goodness is usually unnoticeable, mostly goes undetected. More often than not it’s a simple gesture of self-sacrifice, performed anonymously, a stepping up to do a menial task, a charitable gesture given with no fanfare, no applause expected. No glamour. No need for illustration with a self-portrait broadcast across all media. 

Narcissism isn’t all that difficult to recognize as such but there is an updated twist to the evolution of self-as-center that seems to me to be a bit more sinister and perhaps even more dangerous. When I see what appears to be good sounding ‘Christian’ concept words presented with a well-crafted selfie I have to wonder what the real point is. I instantly sense an unseen agenda.

Obsession with SELF is not new but rather an ancient device used by that old deceiver and is successful because it appeals to the immature flesh craving to be noticed and approved of, which leaves little room for looking out and up. Narcissism is addressed in the Bible in Paul’s second pastoral epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1-7).  Paul questions the character and behavior of leaders within the church, so he warns Timothy to beware of those who act out of a “self love attitude” and says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away.”  

Oswald Chambers addressed the issue specific to those who seek applause for ‘good works’:

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

In the Scriptures, the great miracle of the incarnation slips into the ordinary life of a child; the great miracle of the transfiguration fades into the demon-possessed valley below; the glory of the resurrection descends into a breakfast on the seashore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.

We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time.

We want to be able to say, “Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!” But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3). Our human relationships are the very conditions in which the ideal life of God should be exhibited.

See? Selfie not required.

For Him,



  1. Did I ever tell you that “Bags All Packed” always makes me want to start singing? :D

    Your questions - What would it take to stop the madness? Is there a reset button? When will we see it’s time to slam on the brakes? - bring to my mind George Reeves as Superman standing on the train track, arms outstretched, ready to stop the runaway train. I believe only God can put an end to all this madness.

    Chambers has much to say about maturing enough to kick self out of the way so God can be God in our lives. That is easy to say but much more difficult to execute - even though I am aware of the need and sincerely try. How many people don’t even try? How many don’t even see the need to try?

    When I read or hear ‘God loves me just as I am’ or ‘God made me this way so He cannot reject me’ it makes my heart ache. How many times has God watched His creation run down this same dead-end road? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It seems weeping and gnashing of teeth is putting it mildly (Luke 13:28, Matthew 13:42).

    Be blessed!

    1. Well, girlfriend, if you wanna sing I’ll grab my ukulele and we can just put the rest of the world on hold. LOL!

      Sometimes I just have to vent and to say hard stuff. I know it would be more acceptable to type soft, encouraging words but then I think about Jeremiah - known as the weeping prophet - standing in the ruins of the temple, after warning and warning and never being heard - then God says - “Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great things - and difficult -thou knowest not” Jeremiah 33:3. And then I don’t feel so defeated. Thing is, those who wish to know the truth, regardless how tough, are never the majority and rarely are able to speak so that others can hear.

      I have to admit it is a comfort to run across someone who gets it. :-)

      You be blessed!

    2. Heard a teaching on Bible ‘conditions’ that really caught my attention. For example 2 Chronicles 7:14 / if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
      If . . .
      My people who are called by My Name (Christians have the name of Christ)
      humbles themselves
      seek My face
      turn from their wicked ways
      Then . . .
      I will hear from heaven
      will forgive their sin
      and heal their land

      If we desire the “then” results we must first meet the “if” conditions. The answer to all the problems in the USA is spelled out right there. Now if only all preachers would simply clearly explain this . . .

    3. This is a painful truth and that is likely why it’s not presented anymore. No one wants to hear it. I have lived long enough to see the subtle shift from accountability to love love love covers everything. All you have to do is declare God is good and you have nothing to be sorry for because you are covered by His grace. This is what I call the gray area where all things get muddied up and meanings get changed to suit the narrative du jour.

      Yes, He is good, yes, He loves us with a grace that is incomprehensible to the human brain. But we do have an ‘if’ we have to step up to in order to gain the ‘then’. Being saved is not the same as being sanctified. We are saved when we accept Jesus as Savior. We are sanctified when we accept Him as Lord. That takes some conscious effort on our part, which begins with falling on our face humility.

  2. What a relief to know that I don't have to master selfie technology in order to be seen and heard in the Kingdom of God!

  3. I have never understood the obsessive need to constantly take selfies and then post them for all the world to see.
    All I can think is "how shallow". Low self esteem is everywhere today! Because many have worked so hard to remove God from this country , self indulgence and being in a brief spotlight now becomes the new religion. Social media is overloaded with it! Everyone wants to be a star! To me it smacks of a desperate desire to be relevant without realizing that the God one dismisses so lightly is the "Guy" who makes you feel good about yourself because you know He loves you unconditionally. Trying to fulfill that feeling on You Tube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook isn't where its at.
    Unlike you Meema, I cannot articulate all of this too well and I am not even sure its pertinent to this lovely new piece you have just written but I think I have a "glimpse" of what your saying. The world has become more shallow more self centered than I ever thought possible with people wanting the approval of those who could care less. Its all so sad.

    1. For me, from my perspective, I see the worldly side but also the spiritual. Selfism/humanism is the natural conclusion to a society that rejects God. Humans have to believe in something, even those who claim to be atheists believe in the power of self. All of which is just satan scrambling to take as many as he can with him. He knows his time is short. Things will likely get worse before it gets better, though, that’s the hard part. :-[

    2. Devils working overtime these days!!