The truths of the Bible have an application to our lives personally as individuals. All truth from the Bible, though, is not centered on the individual but has a community or corporate aspect to it (i.e. The Church which is His Body; Members of a Body; Stones in a Temple; Citizens of a Kingdom; Sheep in a Flock). Jesus, Himself, emphasized this corporate dimension of His mission when He said, “… I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it Matthew 16:18.” Jesus’s mission was not to establish a personal relationship with individual people who have no relationship to one another; instead, it was the building of a called out community of people called the Church. The Church, which is His Body, is not one individual member but many.
There seems to be an overemphasis by teachers and teachings that are feeding people with truths that are causing them to be very self-oriented and excessive in their self-love. It is all about them, their God, their time and season, and their thing. Their Christianity becomes self-focused and self-absorbed. They never allow Biblical truth to fit them into something bigger than themselves and for anything beyond personal benefit.
Excessive self-love is defined in several fields of study as narcissism. It is a generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, conceit, or selfishness. It is having an excessive self-focus in interpersonal exchanges or being excessively selfishness and self-absorbed. It is one who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, requires excessive admiration, and has a very strong sense of entitlement. The word comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and would spend hour after hour gazing into the pool at himself.
This is the opposite of the Christ-like nature within a true disciple who demonstrates their love for others by their faithful attendance, serving, giving, and sharing of their life. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends John 15:13.” Some count their life too dear unto themselves, too valuable, too precious to lay it down for others. This is unlike the Apostle Paul’s example who said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God Acts 20:24.” He was willing to be spent for others, “And I will very gladly spend (to incur cost; to expend) and be spent (to exhaust; to expend wholly) for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved 2 Corinthians 12:15.”
The Bible indicates that there would be people in the Last days that fit this category when it says in 2 Timothy 3:1-2, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES….” Lovers of their own selves means to be fond of oneself, selfish, and self-centered love. I wonder if these people are not a product of the teachers and teachings of certain truths that feed into their self-love to the exclusion of truths that teach of denying oneself. Could the characteristics of people in the Last Days perilous times listed in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 be related to 2 Timothy 4:1-4 which indicates that a time would come when people would not sit under sound teaching but pile up teachers who tickle their ears. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 FOR THE TIME WILL COME when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables 2 Timothy 4:1-4.”
These teachings cause divisions, schisms, and splits in the local church or local Body of Christ. They hurt local churches that teach sound doctrine, faithful assembling with the Body, serving with ones gifts, and giving ones spiritual and financial supply as important aspects of being a good disciple of Jesus Christ. We need to renew our minds to the truths about our identity as a part of something bigger than us individually, which is the BODY OF CHRIST 1 Corinthians 12:14-27. No physical body part is designed to function or stay alive disconnected from the whole body. The same holds true for the spiritual Body of Christ. We need to see that all members have a place they are set; all members have gifts of grace; and all members have a function to perform in the Body of Christ.