"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lovers of Self

2 Tim 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
For men will be lovers of self,…
Holding to a form of godliness,…
Avoid such men as these.

Loving yourself, as discussed in the post “Loving Yourself”, requires action. Love in the Bible is usually an action verb requiring you to do something. Loving your neighbor means giving him drink when he’s thirsty, food when he’s hungry, clothes when he is naked, etc., etc. In loving ourselves we automatically do all those things for ourselves. But pop psychology would have us do much more for ourselves so that we feel good about ourselves; is that what Christ wants from us?

Matt 16:24
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

If Jesus loved Himself would He have spent 40 days in the mountains fasting? Would He have voluntarily suffered the pain and humiliation of the scourging and the cross? No! He endured such things because He loves the Father, not Himself – “nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done!”

2 Tim 2:11b,12a
For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.

Dying, enduring, these are not words of love unless the dying and enduring is for someone else. Dying and enduring are sacrificial acts – acts of agape love. But agape love takes no thought of self, it is selfless and sacrificial. Is it possible to be selfless for your self? It’s an absurd contradiction!

Definition: Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, it gives and expects nothing in return. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.

The lowest type of love in the Bible is Eros. It might be better defined in English as lust rather than love. As Plato pointed out, Eros doesn’t have to be physical. We certainly lust for things that are not sexual – this is Eros. It has an element of selfishness in it and is the only one of the four biblical words for love that does.

In my opinion, loving yourself can only be accomplished as Eros, lust, the lowest form of love. It is the very thing that scripture teaches us to die to so we can live to agape.

I’m not saying you can’t love yourself and love others with a godly love. I’m saying that if you do, one has nothing to do with the other. The first is sin (according to A.W. Tozer); the second is God!