A section of the Stonewall Vegetation Project area in late 2017 shows the effect of the Park Creek fire led the Forest Service to re-analyze portions of the project. (Roger Dey Photo)
September 4, 2019
Biblically speaking the idea of “self-assurance” is one area of thinking that can lead to many problems. If we think that we are the source of all our blessings (material and immaterial) we do God a great injustice. The Israelites were warned about this in Deuteronomy 8: 11-18: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
To forget God is the source of all good things will result in a prideful person. You will be depending on yourself rather than God. Proverbs 11:28 says if we trust in our riches we will fall. And Proverbs 16:18 says that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” In other words, we are to live in total dependence up on God (Proverbs 3: 55-6; Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 4:13).
Then there is this thing called “self-love”. Now I must say it sounds good, but is it biblically accurate? In the Bible we are commanded to love God in Deuteronomy 6:5 and by Jesus himself in Matthew 22: 37-38. But we are never told to love ourselves in the Bible. In answering a critic about the greatest commandment Jesus said to love God is number one, and number two is “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In fact, when man is so focused on loving himself Paul wrote Timothy that would be a characteristic of people who reject the faith and an indicator that we are living in the “last days” (II Timothy 3: 1-2). That is a scary thought to me, because it means the return of Christ is sooner than many think. For Christians it is a good thing, but for those who have yet to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior it is a terrible thing.
Next on our list of man’s philosophical errors is the idea of “self-assertiveness”. We are told to stand up for ourselves, don’t let them push you around, claim your rights! Now I have been guilty of this as a boy, adult and in the giving of fatherly advice. It is ingrained in our culture to demand things! Heck look at all the freebies people expect without working! But Scripture never tells us to assert ourselves. We are told to trust completely in God’s plan for your life (Matthew 6: 33-34; romans 8: 28-29; Philippians 4:19) while serving others (Matthew 20: 26-28) and esteeming or valuing others more than ourselves (Philippians 2: 3-4).
We will continue the journey of developing a true Biblical view of Self in the next Musing! Until next time! Thanks for reading this column and feel free to call me any time.
(Dave & Lisa Carroll are area missionaries with InFaith, America’s oldest Christian home mission agency. Source material for this article is from the Biblical Counseling Foundation. You can contact Dave at 406.459.8935 or [email protected])