Narcissism is a word used to identify behaviors which display an unhealthy degree of "self-love". Scripture says that "No man hateth himself" so it is evident that "all men love themselves" to some degree. It is that "self-love" which Adam displayed in the Garden of Eden, placing himself over God. That love of self was manifested as pride and we're all still plagued with that disease of the flesh.
We're all called to be meek! 1 Timothy 6:10 " For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 12 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
"Meekness" is a healthy modest view of oneself. God expects a Christian to be meek for Jesus said "The meek shall inherit the earth." Yes, by not wanting power, prestige and riches you'll be rewarded! That's sounds paradoxial, but God rewards with different values than we seek! Paul tells us of God's mystical values:
2 Corinthinans 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
What are some of the things "unseen' since we're already familiar with the physical world? How about joy? Peace? Health? Love? Grace? Charity? Hope? I will take any of these over a new watch, a classy shirt, an Epicurean meal or a fancy home! Hence, even the casusal reader can see that the thnigs of this world aren't important because we will have them for only awhile. Temporal... lasting only for a short time. Usually material things. They're things which are not durable. Eternal life in heaven (the unseen) is our hope!
There's a story about a mizer who hoarded wealth and when he attempted to enter through the gate to heaven he was asked "What's in the sack?" The mizer replied "gold"! He was then asked by the angel "Why in the world are you bringing pavement with you?" The mizer would have known that if he'd read John's Revelation 21:21 "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." What's important here is of no value where we are to go!
When I was young I wanted a career, a new car, great food, a nice home, a family, prestige, power and recreation! I was fairly balanced, being a Christian, because I never lusted after any of these things. God did bless me with most and for that I am grateful. Although I credit my prosperity and career to God, many of these things are no longer all that important to me. Of course a family means alot to me, someday soon I realize that I'll leave them behind as well. They too are temporal.
Wanting success is not sinful. God teaches us to toil for what we have. Work is honorable! Many people want to bypass what took me and my generation years to accumulate and have it all RIGHT NOW! Those people are narcissistic. They are lovers of self!
If you'll remember from yesterday's topic on "Narcissism" I identified "wrong parenting" which creates narcissists. Today I'll list narcissistic behaviors of adults, those people stuck in juvenility, even infancy:
1) Many have to have brand name clothing.
2) Some have to have an outfit for each day, never wearing the same one twice.
3) They buy new homes at young ages just to keep up with others, not because they can afford them.
4) Priorities are on new cars, often expensive which they have to finance.
5) They buy before they save for what they want.
6) Credit cards are maxed out and they often pay credit card payments with another card.
7) All forms of entertainment are "needs". Many will buy a CD before food.
8) Among the poor tattoos, cigarettes and beer comes before bills are paid or even food.
9) They eat only "what they like" and if they don't get it, they show an attitude.
10) They expect family and company to be like a cafeteria so they always have what they want.
11) They expect presents and even "order' their own birthday and Christmas presents.
12) When receiving presents they show attitudes and ungraciousness when they don't get what they wanted.
13) Holidays are all about them or their kids.
14) They seldom give sacrificially since their money is more dear to them than your money is to you.
15) They seldom if ever say "I'm sorry" for their princely attitudes and negativity.
16) They're seldom wrong (in their own eyes), and their opinion is the valid one without regard to the others' education or wisdom... or the facts.
17) They defraud others by defaulting on bills, but don't see this as stealing.
18) They "use" other people for their own purposes and discard them when they're no longer needed.
19) Conversations are all about themselves. They seldom ask about your interests, what you like or what you've been doing. They'll often "one-up you" in conversations.
20) They have few friends because too many have already been used or abused by them..
You can probably add hundreds of other characteristics of adult narcissism, but you get the point: "It's all about ME!" believes the narcissist! Narcissists "erred from the faith". Narcissists have "pierced themselves through with many sorrows". They deserve their isolation from others and God.
What's the cure for narcissism and how can narcissists be a "New Man" without this bagage? The cure is Jesus! You already believe in Jesus? Then follow his example... be Christlike! Jesus had none of these characteristics, but manyof you continue to hang on to yours.
I told you what used to be important to me. What is now important is my family, my health, my church, my friends and hope in Jesus. All my desires fall under one category "my hope in Jesus"! I want God in my family, my health is a gift from God, my church is to worship Jesus and my best friends share my Christian faith. What more could I ask? Only that others would join me in my Christian faith because I have hope for them as well.