SELF: Disguising It As Spiritual

In reading Greg Beale’s book (We Become What We Worship), I came across this quote by Eugene Peterson, which I find helpful in describing the nature of the Selfishness that flies under the colors of our “loving the Lord.” :

“Do we realize how almost exactly the Baal culture of Canaan is reproduced in American church culture? 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 was 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 is 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.

3 responses to “SELF: Disguising It As Spiritual

  1. The “I” Must Die!

    In as much as i can ‘see’,
    That which is of the ‘I’ in me,

    So it is i yearn, and to Our Father cry,
    For deliverance from all that is of the ‘I’.

    The ‘I’, born of “imag”ination and selfish desire,
    As lust, greed, and pride, stoked a consuming fire ;-(

    A fire burning out of control, as ‘I’ leads the way,
    It’s smoke concealing the fleshly mind that leads one astray ;-(

    Yet even in the smoke, searing heat, and blindness of ‘sight’,
    Truth can pierce the blackness of darkness, revealing “The Light”!

    And nothing can hide from “The Light”, so “Light” reveals the “I”,
    Allowing one to “see” clearly, and clearly the “I” must die!

    But to live, yet die, seems an impossible task,
    And so we need of “Our Father”, the impossible to ask.

    Help me to “deny myself(die to self)(die to ‘I’)” Father!

    And as HE Helps, HE reveals more and more of “The Selfless One”, The One Who leads His Brethren on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”. He Who was, and is The Messiah, The Son of The Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL!

    And as The Messiah desired above all else, so also will His Brethren desire above all else, “Father, not my will, But THY Will Be Done”…….

    The poem above was begun in Creel, Chih, Mexico in ’92, a time when i sought to live and experience a simple and spiritual life and it was there that i received and embraced Simplicity. Left Mexico in ’93, yet returned in ’04. Then on 1/26/05 the poem was completed, and ‘completion’ is near for each and every one of us. And for “the poor and needy”, thankfully so…….

    Translated, “corruptible to incorruptible” indeed and Truth…….

    Home at last…….

    Forever free from The “I”…….

    All Thanks, Praise and Glory Be Unto “Our Father”…….

    And while there is breath(spirit) there is hope many will “see”,
    “see” The “I” for what it is, and then desire to be set free!

    And that Spirit that was in The Messiah shall “set you free, free indeed”!

    So, There Is Hope!

    And Miracles do happen!
    Hope is there would be those who experience The Miracle that is receiving “a love of The Truth” for they will “see” The Light that is The Messiah, they will “see” that The Life is of The Spirit(not seen with the natural eye), and most certainly not of the flesh or fleshly mind(“I”)…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(darkness) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(1Jn5:19) indeed and Truth…….

    Truth is never ending…….

    (Returned to this place called the u.s. of a. in June of ’05, yet a return to the simplicity that is rural Mexico would be welcomed, however, i realize that in all things it must be “Father(Creator) not my will, But THY Will Be Done…….)

  2. I have been reading Beale’s book “We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology Of Idolatry” off and on-it is an interesting book.

    I noticed this morning you commented in my blog Newcreation asking me what I thought about Jason C. Meyer’s book “The End Of The Law: Mosaic Covenant In Pauline Theology”? Meyer basically sets forth what the apostle Paul says about the Mosaic covenant-Meyer does not set forth what for example 17th cent. English Puritans say about the Mosaic Covenant of what Reformed theologians say about the Mosaic covenant-Meyer and I have read the same books-studied the Pauline Epistles so he has not set forth anything new in the book for me-I do think though Meyer should be read by anyone who wants to know what the apostle Paul has to say about the New Covenant-Meyer’s approach in the book is to do exegesis of the major texts in the apostle Paul’s letters on the Mosaic covenant and New Covenant.

    I am only half way through the book. I tend to get bored with a book after three weeks-also sometimes I read a book and then think about what I have read before going back to it.

    This year I am reading through the Bible and I am sure when I get into the New Testament/Pauline Epistles I will get back into Meyer’s book.

    The other day I bought “The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought World of the New Testament” Vol. 1 “The Individual Witnesses” by Ben Witherington III-I recommend Witherington’s books because he is outside the Calvinistic/Reformed theological camp.

    I do not consider myself a New Covenant baptist-I am Pauline-sad to say in conservative Reformed churches the teachings of the New Testament/Covenant and Pauline theology is not being heard-weird.

  3. Hello Jonny –

    Thanks for the reply! Yes, I’m intending to read Myer’s work. Sounds like it will be a worthwhile read.

    As for NCT and being a baptist…I don’t count myself a big ‘B’ baptist, though I hold a credoist position (my understanding of the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ of the Gospel brought me to such). I find some of NCT to be refreshing (getting and keeping the Gospel right), but not all of it. There are those in NCT circles that have quite a good handle on Pauline Theology which enriches their perspective, of course. Others seem to be attempting a make-over of Dispensationalism. If anything, the brand of NCT that I’d consider soundest, to date, has a strong and consistent grasp of the Law/Gospel distinction and something of a Two-Kingdom perspective.

    Nonetheless, I would only speak of being an adherent of NCT out of necessity, not out of conviction. Meaning, I’m not merely looking for a ‘new’ system to replace a ‘former’ system, although, there is something to be said about a our gaining something of a systematic (biblical theological perspective) on the whole of Scripture. My main concern is with any system claiming to have resolved all theological questions, so much so that we need not look any further into the matter. The SYSTEM then becomes something of a stumbling block and things will tend toward distortion. No longer a tool but more so a ball-n-chain. If we look very closely in cases like this, it is the Gospel itself that is being supplanted, as is the tendency of all of us.

    Anyway. There’s two cents worth. Glad to interact a bit with you here.

    Peace –
    Matthew

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