About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

Home Page

The Religion Of Self


There  are all sorts of religions in the world, but there's one religion that affects every last one of us.  It was born in the heart of its founder in an age outside of our material reality.  I call this religion "the religion of self." 


The religion's manifesto is seen in Isaiah 14:12 to 14, and is written by the religion's leader, known as "the morning star, the son of the dawn."  Here's what it states.  "I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God.  I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend to the tops of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High."  These are the five "I wills" of the religion of self.  The exaltation and promotion of self is the cornerstone of the religion.  


A vast number of contemporaries of the morning star dedicated themselves to these five "I wills."  The movement left the world of angels to recruit humans soon after their creation.  The details of this process are found in Genesis 3.  The morning star chose a woman to enlist as his first human disciple, hoping that she'd convince her husband to join as well. 


The morning star is a professional at salesmanship.  He convinced Eve to buy into his plan by placing doubt in her mind.  He told her that God didn't really say what she thought He said.  A good salesman will always make you dissatisfied with what you already have in the hope that you will buy his product.  Such is the way of the world today.  Eve tried to fight this doubt off.   She knew that she'd die if she gave in.  The morning star told her that there was no way she'd die, and that God knew she would become like Him if she gave in to his plan.  The idea of becoming like God did Eve in.  The five "I wills" had penetrated her heart, especially the last one that stated, "I will be like the Most High."   Eve was deceived.  No one can be like God.


Gazing upon the beauty of his unclothed wife with the fruit in her hand, Adam reached out and partook.  He caved in.  He became the second human recruit.  At that point the struggle between good and evil, self and God, that already existed in the spiritual universe was conceived in the human race.  The religion of self now became the religion of the mankind.    


Ever since these first human recruits, the religion of self has influenced every man and woman throughout  history.  Adam's son Cain demonstrated his support to the religion.  His actions said a lot.  They boldly proclaimed, "I will sacrifice to God in the way I want to sacrifice."  Throughout history many have given themselves totally to the religion of self.  It's called hedonism, humanism, secularism, and  many other "isms."   Each generation has its own expression of this religion.  It's quite prominent in the world today and can be seen in our pre-occupation with self.  It's one of the motivating factors in the self help movement, the new age movement, and the prosperity movement. 


Not everyone has become a disciple of this religion, but everyone is heavily influenced by it.  The temptation to think of self above God and others is always present in us.  Christians are not exempt from this.  We often give into the temptation to serve self.  We think we're serving Jesus, but our actions often deny it.      


Jesus spoke to this issue.  He told those who wanted to be His disciple to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  Jesus understood that the only way to deal with self effectively is to bury it every time it rose to oppose the will of God, and that's every day.  


The morning star actually tried to recruit Jesus too.  Jesus would have been his biggest catch.  He came to Jesus when He was weak and hungry.  He told Him, "I will give you the kingdoms of the world."  Unlike Adam in his time of weakness, Jesus didn't cave in.  He knew He'd get these kingdoms in the end anyway.


Jesus resisted the temptation to serve Himself because of the joy that was to come as a result (Hebrews 12:2).  Jesus wants us to follow His example, knowing that what we lose by serving, we'll gain a hundred time more in the next life.    


As Christians, we believe in these gains in the next life.  I'd suggest that to the degree we really believe this, is the degree we can die to self to serve Jesus and others.  Like Jesus, the apostle Paul sacrificed everything, knowing there were better times ahead (Philippians 3:7 and 8).  We tend to be afraid of sacrificing self now because we don't want to miss out on things.  But if we really believe Jesus will reward us in the next life for our service in this life, why are we so afraid of denying self now to serve Jesus and those He has placed us with?  Maybe we don't believe in the rewards of the next life as much as we say we do.      


The struggle with self is an ongoing battle.  If we don't experience the battle, it's either because we've already won the battle, or else we've given in and there's no battle to fight.  I don't think any of us have won the battle.  If we're not experiencing the battle, we've defaulted to self.  May Jesus help us see the battle, and may He help us fight it successfully.  


In the early 1970's I wrote a tract entitled "Help Stamp Out Religion."  I thought the title might catch the eye of the hippies I gave it to.  Part of their escape from society was fleeing the religious life they were raised in.    Maybe I should write a new tract entitled "Help Stamp Out The Religion Of Self," but there are not many hippies left to give it too.  After dropping out of society, most of them dropped back in.  I guess they couldn't live without their daily fix of "the religion of self".  

Home Page