Question: WHAT IS NARCISSISTIC BEHAVIOR?
Health professionals agree that it is a lack of feeling loved, which in turn, leads to insecurities, even narcissistic attitudes. It is also the term in psychology to describe a preoccupation with SELF (Mayo Clinic Study 2013 – Narcissistic personality disorder).
It is a Greek term taken from the mythological NARCISSUS, who fell in love with his own IMAGE; doomed to die because he wouldn’t turn away from it.
Today, the obsession for taking “selfies” could be called narcissism.
So, in a nutshell, I’m referring to a people who display a high level of SELFISHNESS, VANITY, and PRIDE in their life. He, or she, sees everything from a “how does this affect me?” perspective.
And when it comes to Christianity–SELFISHNESS, VANITY, AND PRIDE– can lead to a deprived mind and a counterfeit FAITH.
STUDY BIBLE TEXT: 2 Timothy 3:2-8 (NLT):
 For people will LOVE only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
 They will betray friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires.
[7} (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)
 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jammes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have deprived minds and a counterfeit faith.
[*NOTE: I am not going to address every characteristic that Paul addresses in the 8 VERSES listed but will point out ones the Holy Spirit directed me to emphasize in this BLOG.]
THE “BOASTFUL” & THE “PROUD”
A reason people don’t feel they need Savior or forgiveness is because PRIDE tells them they are “good” people or have a “good” heart.
PRIDE also blinds people to their own responsibility and accountability for SIN.
So, NARCISSISM (pride), makes SIN, whereas the GOSPEL reveals the TRUTH that leads to remorse for SIN!
AND, narcissistic traits can be dangerous because, at their worst, they lead a person to destroy others to satisfy the LUST of the flesh (2 Timothy 3:28).
“IN THE LAST DAYS…” – The Identified Characteristics of Society
EUGENE PETERSON sums it up:
“As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderous, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addictive to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals.”
The Heart of the Apostolic Charge Paul is telling Timothy that people will be “lovers of self” in the last days.
The Apostle to the gentiles had in view the growth of the apostate church which, though bearing the marks of evangelism to the surrounding community would nevertheless be spiritually DEAD.
The church which Paul foretold exalts external religion, yet denies or lacks the interest of the Word of God. This Laodicean church is indeed coming at the end of the [Church] age! [Rev. 3:14-17]
Whenever SELF is exalted, lifted up to a position of honor, GOD is no longer worshiped. God cannot be worshiped if we are exalting “self”.
- SATAN loved himself more that he loved GOD; his self-love was the genesis of rebellion in heaven.
- ADAM and EVE exalted “self” on the throne of their lives and plunging the WORLD into ruin.
SELF-LOVE ON DISPLAY:
One of the most frightening developments, in my opinion, is many contemporary churches are making enthusiastic declarations of SELF-LOVE, not only as allowable but as being the basic virtue.
SELF-LOVE has many offshoots–
- self-esteem, self-worth, self-fulfillment, positive self-image…
The claim is made that one cannot properly LOVE God and/or other people unless he loves himself. That is purely destructive thinking which comes from antibiblical psychology.
GOD MUST BE LOVED SUPREMELY!!! SELF-ABSORBED people grow overly confident spiritually.
Spiritual Superior, meaning they are SELF-ABSORBED–boastful in their spiritual depth (1 Timothy 1:7): “They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently confirm” (NIV).
As a bible teacher, I need to take heed to Paul’s words. Confidence in God’s word is important, but not to the degree of superiority.
“Contemptuous of parents” (v. 2, “disobedient to…) –
Society will produce children who are “contemptuous”.
Too many parents think that Bart Simpson is cute when he disses his parents. But SELF-WILLED children, their “cuteness” will one day come back to the parents of teenagers, with sometimes devastating consequences. All because you thought it was “cute” when they were small.
And this can lead to the attitude of ENTITLEMENT.
ENTITLEMENT DEFINED: The fact of having a right to something; the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
In America, people feel ENTITLED to abundance, simply because they can claim the title of being a U.S. Citizen.
ENTITLEMENT can be based on such things as age (The “Millenials”), seniority, credentials, family name, etc…
ENTITLEMENT is demanding something for nothing and permitting laziness.
ENTITLEMENT tells you that you deserve what others have because YOU (Self), deserve what others have because you’re just as important.
ENTITLEMENT lies to you, distracting you with GREED and feelings of JEALOUSY.
ENTITLEMENT can hide behind the guise of EQUALITY, yet they hold nothing in common.
SELF-CENTEREDNESS ABOUNDS –
Self-centered people are “ungrateful”, imagining that they but receive their due whenever a courtesy is shown toward them. The UNGRATEFUL PERSON despises the idea of GRACE, and because of their ungratefulness, God’s wrath is on display against their behavior. [see Romans 1:18, 21]
“Ungrateful” people are “unholy” people, no matter how religious they may appear in society. The word translated “UNHOLY” isn’t so much the idea of ‘irreligion’ as of extreme indecency.
The UNHOLY PERSON is driven by SELF-LOVE (narcissism) to gratify his/her lust and passions in different areas as fully as possible with no thought of decency.
An “Unbending” Nature, another form of NARCISSTIC BEHAVIOR
The word “unbending” speaks of an individual who cannot or will not come to terms with another. The word literally means “without a treaty.”
Convinced that they are right, they refuse to be reconciled because they must be seen as right in every instance. No compromise here, regardless of the consequences, even to the point of destroying their own lives and the lives of their family member.
The Apostle continues with three characteristics depicting HUMAN PRIDE and HARMFUL DEALINGS with others before summarizing their relationship with God.
VERSE 4: “TREACHEROUS” – not dependable–here today and gone tomorrow “RECKLESS [rash] – not careful with relationships; instead of valuing them.
The passage of Scripture concludes with the first of a long list of complaints of the wicked character: “lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God” (Amplified bible).
Literally, the people in view have the outward form of true religion [eg. Christianity] even while denying its HOLY SPIRIT POWER. These people can be church “members”, but they are lost.
HOW SHALL WE LIVE AS WE AWAIT CHRISTS’ RETURN?
There is little in contemporary society today that deters me from the understanding that we’re living in the LAST DAYS, perhaps even the final days!
The cult of “SELF” has grown so strong and become so ingrained that many professing Christians are oblivious to the pressure towards Narcissistic Behavior except when we look into the mirror of Scripture.
As the Apostle continued his instruction to the pastor of Ephesus, Paul insisted on the way Christians MUST LIVE in the Last Days.
2 Timothy 3:12-13 (NIV):
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
The ANSWER to how we must live is found in the words at the end of this Chapter:
Paul writes, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” [2 Timothy 3:14-17 New International Version].
Looking at modern society, it becomes obvious that the dams that hold back destruction are now cracked, now threatening society with a momentary flood.
And no matter how hard “I” try to fix the leaks, it will FAIL every time.
INSTEAD of trying to stick fingers in the dike as crack after crack appears, we need to look to God and the POWER of His Word.
We need to realize that ALL fellowship is ultimately based upon doctrine and not upon how we feel about ourselves–how we feel about others or even about the conditions we face.
We are to SHARE our lives through sharing TRUTH; we share our lives through determining to OBEY God and to honor Him.
ECCLESIASTES 7:29 (NIV):
“This only have I found; God created mankind upright, BUT they have gone to search of many schemes.” [“but” not capitalized in the original text.]
Either we look to God, or we can attempt to “fix” things ourselves by putting our fingers in the dike. But be aware that the “dike”, or the DAM in the above photo, is crumbling and springing multiple leaks.
Just as we are seeing the state of culture being overwhelmed by the cult of “me”, so it is impossible to “fix” what is dead.
What is DEAD must be abandoned. We don’t have enough fingers.
Therefore, look to God!
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
While Jesus’ popularity grew, John the Baptist friends felt a little slighted for the prophet. John the Baptist, however, said about Jesus, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less” (John 3:30 NLT).
We all may be tempted to be NARCISSTIC AND ENTITLED in some ordinary circumstances. It has happened to me way to often and that might be the reason God’s Spirit prompted me to write on the topic. Okay, forget that I said “might be” and replace it with “is”.
I read a story in my studies this week about a man who was flying from Tampa to Chicago every week on a work assignment. At the end of a certain week, he was tired and ready for a quiet and relaxing flight home. It wasn’t going to happen. That day a large group got on the plane who were having a noisy celebration of some kind. Instead of getting angry and upset, the man who was already tired just sighed and smiled as he told himself, “Apparently today is not about me.” [Story from William Earnhardt’s – Bible Cures for Narccism]
The CURE may just be that simple. Remember that “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME.”
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES
What Does The Bible Say About Narcissistic Behaviour? The 3 Faces Of Evil by Christine Louis de Canonville.
Photo Credits: Google Image Search.
Bible Translation (s): The New International Version (NIV), except where noted.