Self as God

In today’s culture especially, similar to that of some of the kings of Judah, the self has become the ultimate god.


5 min read

I’ve been reading through 1 and 2 Chronicles for Lent (yeah, an odd selection, I know—blame She Reads Truth). I’ve actually been loving it (once I got past the genealogies, that is).

Reading account after account of the kings God put in place (or the people put in place despite the God-designated plan saying otherwise) was fascinating, to say the least. And I was struck by how similar we act even today. After all, humans gonna human.

In today’s culture especially, similar to that of some of the kings of Judah, the self has become the ultimate god.

In reading about these kings who kill their advisers when told not to go to war or reinstate towers of idol worship posts after years of seeing God’s faithfulness to previous kings, I can’t help but see the reflection of our own hearts thousands of years later. It’s human nature, I suppose, but why do we not learn our lesson?

Right now, people are clamoring for love—to be seen, known, heard, and loved for exactly who they are, who “God made them to be.” Of course, we all crave that—to be known and loved just as we are—but that has led us to a place of pride that stunts us from the clarity needed to see our own depravity and our need for a savior. In fact, that clarity is offered throughout God’s revealed Word as a way to get to know who God is and who we are in light of our Creator.

Notice, I didn’t necessarily say “the Bible IS CLEAR.” I know a lot of people are not a fan of that statement, and I can understand why. Clarity assumes simplicity and ease for everyone to understand, which I would not characterize the Bible as necessarily—though it is accessible and for everyone.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22–24 NIV

Righteousness is offered to us when we believe, but what’s there to believe in if we don’t first believe that we have sinned and fall short?

How can we truly recognize and receive the grace of Jesus’ sacrifice if we don’t see our own brokenness? What’s the point?

Has Christianity gotten it right in communicating the GOOD news of the gospel? Not 100%, no. It has been weaponized for submission and hierarchical gain. It has been demonized as a way to demolish our own self-worth and undermine the value of God’s creation.

But just because humanity has incorrectly relayed the truth of God’s Word, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer truthful or valid.
God doesn’t need humans to validate who God is for God to still be God.

I’m not surprised so many people are running from God because of how they’ve been neglected or looked down upon for who they are or the struggles they face. The church has messed it up big time, but the truth of the gospel still stands firm.

We have to learn how to re-present the good news of a God who redeems His people and draws them close in relationship to Him through an act of grace that requires nothing but belief and faith. This culture has hindered ourselves from seeing ALL of who we are—flaws, holiness, thwarted thinking, and Imago Dei. It’s a package deal.

If you don’t see your own waywardness for what it truly is, then the wisdom of the Lord is prevented from transforming you from the inside out. If your way of being and thinking outside of the created freedom of obedience to God is more important than your need for a savior, then Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection (aka the Gospel message) are 100% unnecessary. If Jesus isn’t Lord, then His message and life are full of lies—and you’re really just admiring a lunatic.

When you can’t get beyond your SELF, there is no room for God.

Demanding that people, including family and your closest friends, just love and accept every part of you and how you choose to live your life without any question or challenge is explicitly admitting that you have no need for a savior because nothing—not weight, inappropriate sexual desires, disordered priorities, selfish actions—is “wrong” about who you are and what you do.

I hope we all can understand the slippery slope this offers us when we consider the forceful acceptance of people for who they want to be (or claim they are innately). I don’t think I need to describe any specific lifestyle for you to think of how it is portrayed in 21st-Century America.

I should say that if you want to live like this, with no regard for a unique divine design of you or your purpose and no limits to being whoever you want to be or doing whatever you want to do, then so be it. Where I draw the line is trying to reconcile that lifestyle and belief with an obedient faith in Yahweh, the God of the Holy Bible, God-incarnate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. They are, if you read and study Scripture, completely incompatible.

. . .

While this may be an article in itself for another time, I wanted to touch on the subject of being known as a “Christian.”

I see this floating around a lot right now on the good old interweb where people are sharing their deconstruction journies—some healthy and some, not so much, but I digress. Quite a few people are rejecting the title “Christian” or even rebuking it for those who use it for themselves. (I won’t even touch on the negativity surrounding “Evangelical Christian.”)

I understand that many Christians have not portrayed or carried the good news of Jesus well enough through their actions, and that is what is causing a lot of post-Christian beliefs. However, the term itself—Christian—is not marked by what other humans have made of it.

Simply speaking, Christian means “Christ-follower” and has no bearing on how other Christ-followers live out their faith. My Christian status is determined simply by my own belief and actions, no one else’s.

Because self has become a god so prominently lately (probably more apparent because of the spread of information and opinions online), we’ve elevated people above God in almost all things. People are walking away from the church and blaming God for the actions of humans because the human self bares more weight in their lives than the faithful goodness of God.

Disregarding the name “Christian” simply because you don’t like the reputation humans have given it actually changes nothing about your belief system (unless you actually have changed your belief system)— in fact, it may be more noble to try and rewrite the story for Christianity because at the end of the day, Christ doesn’t change. We have.

We need to reverse the direction we’re headed as a Christian culture and put God in His rightful spot on the throne instead of our own self and its desires for immediate gratification, fun at all costs, sexual pleasure, overindulged diets, and the long list of human wants we have put above God.

If we don’t see our waywardness, how our self has become the most predominant god in our lives, we’ll never see the light for what it truly is and the freedom from darkness it welcomes us into. There’s no use for God if we proclaim ourselves as god, but as many discover the hard way, the god of self will never satisfy — it is unfaithful, never fulfilled, short-tempered, and impossible to please long-term.

Don’t settle for that exhausting life of lust and greed and insatiable desires. God invites us to so much more if you’re just willing to look in the mirror, release the tension of playing god, and come back to the throne of grace so freely offered.

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16