About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Religion Of Self
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
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
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
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
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
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".