Did you know that even our spirituality or religion can become a form of self-seeking? The idolatry of self, and self-actualization, is prevalent and often shrouded in very spiritual sounding language. Hear about it fro a wiser man than I:
Do we realize how almost exactly the Baal culture if Canaan is reproduced in America church culture [ed. Canadian, too!] ? Baal religion is about what makes you feel good. Baal worship is a total immersion in what I can get out of it. And of course, it was incredibly successful. The Baal priests could gather crowds that outnumbered followers of Yahweh 20 to 1. There was sex, there was excitement, there was music, there was ecstasy, there was dance. “We got girls over here, friends. We got statues, girls, and festivals.” This was great stuff. And what did the Hebrews have to offer in response? The Word. What’s the Word? Well, Hebrews had festivals, at least!…
It’s the biggest word we have – salvation, being saved. We are saved from a way of life in which there is no resurrection. And we’re being saved from ourselves. One way to define spiritual life is getting so tired and fed up with yourself you go on to something better, which is following Jesus.
But the minute we start advertising the faith in terms of benefits, we’re just exacerbating the self problem. “With Christ, you’re better, stronger, more likeable, you enjoy some ecstasy.” But it’s just more self. Instead, we want to get people bored with themselves so they can start looking at Jesus.
We’ve all met a certain type of spiritual person. She’s a wonderful person. She loves the Lord. She prays and reads the Bible all the time. But all she thinks about herself. She’s not a selfish person. But she’s always at the center of everything she’s doing. “How can I witness better? How can I do this better? How can I take care of this person’s problem better?” It’s me, me, me disguised in a way that is difficult to see because her spiritual talk disarms us.*
* “Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons” Christianity Today, March 2005, pg 45 (quote found in G K Beale’s We Become What We Worship, pg 295.)