walk in the word
1But understand this, that in the later days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. —2 Timothy 3:1-5
Even psychologists have more recently begun to criticize behaviorism and psychoanalysis as ineffective for meaningful change. Instead, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and others have become proponents of a third faulty method called humanistic psychology. While behaviorism focuses on environmental conditioning and psychoanalysis drills for something dark and hidden in your past, humanistic psychology teaches that people are controlled by their own values and choices. The goal of this approach to change is to have people clarify their values to achieve their own potential. That’s the key word: potential. It’s in you. Tap into that and you can change into anything you desire!
Now this idea that the answer is within you is by far the most popular today. There are 234,000 self-help published materials on Amazon.com. Crazy titles like, Get Out of Your Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behaviors or When Am I Going To Be Happy? and the popular, The Power of Self-Helping. Of course the idea here is just positive self-talk. “I’m a good person.” “I’m going to buy myself something because I’m a nice guy and I deserve it.”
This is faulty for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t work. Self-talk doesn’t even enhance behavior. This is where the whole self-esteem movement came from—a generation going to hell but feeling good about themselves. This is a mirage! Put it in a bag and carry it to the street.
Here’s the biblical view of man: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). If you understand even a fraction of the depravity in your own heart, you realize it’s that very depravity that makes you want to believe that you are good enough. It is a denial of what we know to be true. The answer is not in me or in you!
2 Timothy 3:1-5describes the “last days” as a time when people will be obsessed with self-love. That seems like today! The driving force for change is not self-love; it’s God-love. It’s not self-esteem; it’s Christ-esteem. Jesus said, “. . . whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”(Matthew 10:39). The world says, “Find yourself: the answer is in you.” Jesus says, “Lose yourself: the answer is in Me.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, remind me that self-talk and self-esteem keep me from accepting the truth and love that comes only from You! Thank You for the wonderful hope of change and for showing in Your Word that it can’t start with me or be completed by me. Thank You for loving me despite our lack of anything worthy of Your esteem. Thank You that You wait lovingly just beyond the moment when I turn from self to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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