Narcissism Pleasure Lovers, not Lovers of God
Topic: Narcissism Pleasure Lovers, not Lovers of God
By David Cox
In this installment on Narcissism, we look at how Narcissism Lovers of Pleasure, not of God works out. This is an idolatry against the true God.
Pleasure has become the new god of this age. While there are lots of other gods “running around”, the masses have embraced the concept of pleasure as their ultimate goal. They think about it constantly, and they simply endure work in order to enable them to worship their god, pleasure. Pleasure is not really the god here though. It is self. Pleasure is simply an experience that pleases self. This is the god, self-love, pleasing one’s self.
2Tim 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves… 2Tim 3:4… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Paul contrasted the world with his (Paul’s) own mindset…
2Tim 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
The point is that whatever is at the top of your priority list, that is your god. Whatever captures the majority of your waking moments, whatever receives the majority of your resources of time, energy, money, etc. that is your god. The end times will be highly marked by people who devote their life’s goal and life’s energies, not to mention all of their resources to the pursuit of pleasure.
Moreover, this passion for pleasure will consume them, transforming them into covetous people who break moral rules of living in order to provide even more pleasure.
Pleasure and Luxury its all the same thing
Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
One of the clear teachings of Christ about the soil that shows promise but not unto the end fruit of salvation is that of people who are more worried about the “cares, riches, and pleasures of this life.” Notice that if this is your chief priority, or what has overtaken your life as its principle goal, then you are not saved.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Paul rephrases it for Titus speaking of “what we were into before really being saved”. We were people who were serving divers (different kinds of) lust and pleasures. The pursuit of pleasure (hedonism) is a false religion, a false concept that is in war against true salvation.
What is hedonism?
Hedonism began in the garden when Eve ate the forbidden fruit because it was a “delight” in her eyes (Gen 3:6). This is exactly repeated today without much variation. People follow what they think is a “delight” (pleasure to their soul) because they do not have their soul atuned to God. Shouldn’t we “joy” in communion with God? Shouldn’t we find pleasure in God’s Word and fellowing with the saints? Yet we find that unilaterally, every church has its many members who find prayer, Bible study of God’s Word, and fellowship undesireable, and they only dedicate very little time to that. Almost every church out there will have 40% in their Sunday evening meeting than their Sunday morning meeting. Worse yet, many supposedly good churches don’t have Sunday School or evening worship services any more. Why? Because people don’t come because they have other things to do. Are they working on Sunday evening? No. What are they doing then? What is that “other thing” that is so important. Rest. Relaxing. Having fun. They typically are out of their house in some kind of entertainment, or in their house doing the same. This is their god. If they are saved, they have a spiritual battle in them as to which is more important.
What we see here is that there is a great pull or attraction to sinful man when Satan presents something “prohibited”, and this is often enough in and of itself to cause man to fall. I do not think that Eve got a lot of pleasure out of eating a piece of fruit, it was because it was prohibited that gave her great pleasure.
Hedonism is condemned in Scripture
1Pet 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
These are abominable idolatries for the Christian. But really this is exactly what many Christian pursuit as “the best of life”!
Ezek 6:9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
These abominations are directly against God.
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
What should be the “delight of our hearts”?
Ps 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Really this trap of Satan is a directly stealing the pleasure MAN SHOULD HAVE IN COMMUNION WITH GOD. If we consider Adam and Eve, Satan stole man’s ability to commun with God in the cool of the day by offering him a fruit salad, and this thing has been fruity every since. We cannot truly enjoy what God has to give us because of sin.
Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
When you enjoy life’s pleasures with so much gusto, remember that this is in contrast to enjoying spiritually what God has for you. As the earthly one grows, the spiritual one diminishes. Our true joy, pleasure, and happiness should come from spiritual things, not materialism.
Matt 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Matt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
What the Bible presents us is that our spiritual life in Christ should be understood by us as a “great treasure” that is worth more than anything else in this world. That should be our attitude. Our interaction with God on one hand, dealing with both the good He gives us, and the bad experiences he allows to come upon us, is what should give us unspeakable joy over abounding. These challenges in our life is what God will reward us for. When we suffer for the kingdom’s sake.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
This gets down to the very fabric and essence of what is our salvation. To be saved, we must have faith, and that faith is a sure certainty in our hearts that God exists, and that God will reward us for diligently seeking God.
Phil 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
If you still are hanging onto wanting to enjoy at least some of life’s pleasures, consider that Paul declares that he counts or esteems all things as loss (a negative) and as dung except for his relationship with Christ.
Value in Serving, in Giving
The world cannot understand us nor the Christian mindset. Why would you work to get resources only to give them away? Why not spend them all on yourself? Tithing and worse giving more than what is marked as a requirement is beyond most unsaved. They simply will not go down that path, and many Christians likewise are stingy in giving away anything. Social peer pressure may cause them to give something, but their heart is not in it.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
How does it figure that it is better to give away your possessions than to receive more? From what we are seeing here in these studies, true joy only comes by communion with God, where the sin question is settled in salvation, and service question is worked out by good works, and the giving question is the outworking of a heart devoted to Christ.
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
The battle is one of ideology, in which we do good to others while the unsaved and carnal do good to themselves. We find our joy and pleasure in serving and giving, not in getting and experiencing pleasure first hand.
Eccl 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. Eccl 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? Eccl 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. Eccl 2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: Eccl 2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: Eccl 2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: Eccl 2:7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: Eccl 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. Eccl 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. Eccl 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Eccl 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
Eccl 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. Eccl 12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. Eccl 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. Eccl 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. Eccl 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Solomon’s words are very wise here. He sought out what joy the world had to offer. and he succeeded in finding it, but in the end, it was empty. There was nothing to it really. Nothing that would last; nothing that would satisfy.
My Tract on PC50 Narcissism versus Love