Are we guilty of narcissistic spirituality?


A little guilt is good; too much guilt is selfish. To wallow in one’s guilt is to place too much importance on oneself. I think for too long, we have been too obsessed with our own spirituality. God doesn’t want perfect people; He just wants people He can use.

I think Jesus put a stop to all this “rules and guilt” nonsense by concluding the Sermon on the Mount with this: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Okay, thank you for clarifying that, Jesus. I’ll just go do that … not!

Honestly, what happens to you when you hear, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”? Do you get what He’s saying here? He’s telling us to be as good as God. Really? Don’t you want to just throw in the towel? Don’t you want to go, “Thanks, but no thanks”? Don’t you want to tell God that if He’s interested in you being perfect, He’s got the wrong guy? Did you ever wonder if that might be exactly what He wants us to think? That He might be saying this to purposely frustrate any of our attempts to be perfect by our own efforts? That when He tells us to be perfect, He’s not expecting us to go out and do that, He’s expecting us to throw ourselves on His mercy?

He’s intending to break us of any attempt at a righteousness of our own.

I think this is it: God doesn’t want perfect people; He wants broken people He can use. The Pharisees are what you get when you try to get perfect people. The poor in spirit are what you get when people give up trying, and those are the people Jesus says are blessed. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” They get it. They understand. They come empty to me to be filled. They come thirsty to me to get living water. They come as sinners needing my forgiveness, and as guilty needing my mercy. Jesus wants people who are done with themselves and ready to be put to use wherever God wants them.

I think we might have gotten taken up too much with the state of our own spirituality. God doesn’t want to impress anybody with us; He just wants to put us to work serving Him by serving others.

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5 Responses to Are we guilty of narcissistic spirituality?

  1. Drew Snider says:

    I believe we need to look at what Jesus says before He gets to the part about “be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. it’s the bit about love your enemies, bless those who curse you, etc., etc. That, it seems to me, is the definition of being “perfect” — “made thoroughly”, if you dissect the root of the word. In the same way, Jesus tells the “rich young ruler” that if he wants to be perfect, he needs to sell what he has, give to the poor and find his treasure in heaven. All of that is connected with true humility.

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Great Catch!

    Thx Pastor John it greatly helped me in answering kind of a question I never really had a good answer for, when talking to my old therapist (I’m talking back a few years after my time in a coma, so back in the late eighties) He said a few times, how come most of you born-again Christians only seem to get Religious after something bad happen in your lives. When I’d tell him, well I became a Christian 4 yrs before my car accident that caused the coma and time speaking to him, which he never replied back to, yet now after tody’s Catch – I’d say well maybe these peole have finally figured out and gotten so tried of trying to be good, kind and perfect people, when in their hearts they knew they couldn’t always be, so they learned to call upon Him to help them.. 🙂

  3. Eleanor Dixon says:

    I Agree, Its So Easy To Despair Reading That Scripture, Even On Our Best Day We Fall Short Of Perfect, So Glad He Also Said “Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit” Never Felt Poorer In Spirit Than I Do Now, Helpless Without Him, Dependant On Him,

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