Self Centered Christianity

June 30, 2012

Self-Centered Christianity

            A few years ago we heard a lot of talk about being “Christ centered.”  It wasn’t  biblical terminology and no one was certain about what it meant, but it sounded good.  We went from that to talking about being a “committed Christian.”  Again it wasn’t biblical terminology.  It meant a lot of things to a lot of people.  .

What we have today could best be called “self-centered Christianity,” Multitudes of Christians aren’t aware of the fact that they have a self-centered Christianity.  Modern Christians aren’t getting their Christianity from the Bible.  They are getting it from the radio, the TV, and slick cover magazines.  We have succumbed to the philosophy of humanism and the new age movement.  It’s the teaching that you need to feel good about yourself.  They tell us, “if you feel good about it, then it’s alright for you.”  People are looking for a Christianity that makes them feel good about themselves.

A few years ago, all the humanists had to do to get a lot of wavering Christians off the track was to say, “You Christians aren’t doing anything to meet the social needs of people.”  The result was that Christians everywhere said, “Oh yes we are; just watch what we can do.”  That gave birth to the “social gospel.”  Now what we are hearing from the new agers is “Christians don’t do anything for the emotional needs of people.”  To counteract that we have given ourselves over to “Christian psychology” and the charismatic phenomena.

Modern Christians are showing a great lack of discernment.  Either they don’t realize that it’s their duty to discern between good and evil or they are not capable of doing so.  I fear that, with the great majority, the later fault is to blame.  They think they are discerning but they aren’t making good judgments.  Hebrews 5:13-14 says “For everyone that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe, but solid food belongeth to them that are of full age, even to those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  Christians aren’t basing their decisions on biblical knowledge.  Many of them don’t have much Bible knowledge to work with.  Even if they do, some don’t accept it as an absolute standard of truth.

In the early days of our country, biblical Christianity was ravaged by the devastating philosophy of rationalism.  They were told, “If it isn’t rational you don’t have to believe it.”  In our day they are saying, “If you don’t feel good about it you don’t have to believe it.”  In either case, man has set himself up as the ultimate standard of truth.  No, my friend; if the Bible says it’s sin, it’s sin.  It doesn’t matter how you or I feel about it.

Some will say, “But doesn’t Christianity meet the social and emotional needs of people?”  Of course it does.  The problem is that people are being told to turn to Christianity to find a solution to their own personal needs.  That’s self-centered Christianity.  It’s not biblical Christianity.  We are overlooking the plain teaching of Christ when he said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33  We’ve got it backwards.  We are seeking “all these things ;”… things like self esteem, stress management, prosperity, exciting emotional experiences, etc.  We can’t seem to get our eyes off of self and get then on God.  We misappropriate the promises of God.  We come to promises like Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given unto you” and we say, “Oh I’ll give to see what I can get.”  We read I Peter 5:7 that says, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you” And we put the stress on “He careth for you.”

I’m disgusted with much of what I hear on Christian radio.  I hear very little about Biblical Christian living.  Most of it deals with telling people how to handle stress or how to feel good about themselves.  I’m afraid altogether too many Christians are having their personal devotions by listening to so called Christian radio on their way to work in the morning.  That won’t take the place of your own time alone with God reading the Bible and praying.

Proverbs 11:24 says; “There is he that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is he that withholdeth more than is meet but it tendeth to poverty.”  Jesus said; “Whosoever will save his life shall loose it; but whosoever shall loose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall find it.”  The secret is for us to loose our life for the sake of Jesus and what he is attempting to do in this world.  Many, in a vain attempt to “save their life,” find themselves in increasingly more desperate emotional problems.  Have you ever noticed that we are having more emotional and psychological problems than we ever had, in spite of all the stress placed on psychology?

Colossians 3:1-3 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  A Biblical Christian is said to be “In Christ.”  To be “in Christ” is to partake of all He purchased for us when He died on the cross for us.  Genuine Biblical Christianity is to be constrained by our love for Christ as it says in II Cor. 5:14-15.  To realize the awful price he paid for us should give us reason to love Him with all our being.  That alone should be all we need to give us self worth.  Therefore, Paul says, we should not henceforth live unto ourselves but unto Him who died for us and rose again.

God has promised to supply our need but only if we stop fussing about our feelings and loose ourselves in Him and get involved in His work.  Some have departed so far from Biblical Christianity that such teaching sounds almost heretical to them.  They dismiss it as legalism or radical fundamentalism.

When people come to us seeking help with their emotional problems we need to know how to help them.  First we need to be understanding listeners.  We need to be sympathetic.  We need to show them love.  But sooner or later, and the sooner the better, we need to open the Word of God with them and show them that their basic need is to have the right relationship with God.  You may not convince them the first time but keep the door open so you can talk to them again with the open Bible.  Assure them that God cares and can help, but that we have to put first things first.  We have to get at the basic problem.  Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Then Romans 5:8 says “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  John 1:12 says, “But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of  God, even to them that believe on his name.”

No one can be right with himself without being right with God.  If one “feels good about himself” it’s almost certain that he has overlooked a lot of sin in his life or is rationalizing it away by saying, “It’s not serious.  Everyone does it.”  The Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom.3:10). The only way you or I can be righteous is to be in Christ and partake of His righteousness.

I don’t need to feel good about myself but I do need to feel good about Christ.  Then all the good I do is done to please Him who died for me.  May God deliver us from self-centered Christianity.  It’s a diversion from the real thing and we sell ourselves short when we go after it.

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