-Blind or excessive devotion to something.
-Extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something
Self-Idolatry is therefore born when an individual directs excessive devotion or attention/love towards him/herself.
Whether we admit or not, we all have a tendency to idolize ourselves. Let me give you some examples:
-We usually get angry when someone insults or rebukes us. Why? Because we have that pride in us that demands respect from all men.
-We take lots of selfies and post them on Facebook or Instagram. Why? Because we think we’re cute and want our friends to confirm that with their comments or ‘likes’.
-We embellish our attitudes in front of strangers or in public. Why? Because we want people to have a good opinion of us.
You see, all of these answers turn the focus towards US and US alone. We love ourselves too much that we cannot stand someone shouting at us, or we’re always on the look for compliments, or we want people to speak highly of us. That’s what idolatry of self is all about.
The Bible clearly tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1Pet5:5). If we want to be useful for the kingdom, we need to kill self.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippian church, praised his spiritual son Timothy, a selfless man who gave himself wholeheartedly for the work of God. Philippians 2:20-22 “I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.” Paul is making reference to Timothy’s devotion to the Gospel because he has seen other workers such as Demas that left him for the pleasures of this world. He said in 2 Timothy 4:10 “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica.”
image source: loveembraceinspire.com
So many times, the Lord Jesus reminds us that we need to die to ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him if we want to be His disciples. Unlike Demas, Timothy delighted in serving others rather than himself and understood that seeking the kingdom of God first would consequently result in God taking care of his own needs. It’s not easy to surrender our will for God’s purpose but like they say: “Practice makes perfect!”
1 Peter 5:6 adds: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.” This is therefore a guarantee that prosperity and blessings accompany us when we care for the matters of Christ. Come to think of it, when you love someone, wouldn’t you want to do the things that pleases him/her? That’s the same way we should look at brokenness or humility; this is the attitude that pleases the Lord Jesus, hence if we love Him, why not do it willingly? I pray the Holy Spirit will help us please our Lord Jesus more than before.