But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud… having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-4
I recently came across an interesting quote by Oswald Chambers, the author of the Christian classic My Utmost for His Highest. He writes: “Self-realisation is anti-Christian. All this is vigorous paganism, it is not Christianity. Jesus Christ’s attitude is always that of anti-self-realisation. His purpose is not the development of man at all; His purpose is to make man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is not self-realisation but self-expenditure.”
Chambers, who passed away in 1917, never lived to see the prophetic significance of his words. He never lived to see a day when Christian bookshops would be stocked with books telling Christians how to maximize their potential, how to make God’s dream for them come true, how to claim their miracles, how to prosper financially, and so on.
It seems that a large segment of the church has succumbed to the philosophy of the motivational revolution, and, in the process, to the spirit of the age. The motivational paradigm has changed the way we think about ourselves, our work and our destiny. To quote Paul Vitz, who have written extensively on what he calls The Cult of Self-Worship: “All the major theories of motivation and personality assume that reward for the self is the only functional ethical principle.” Certain Christians appear to have embraced this way of thinking, and in the process have become devoted to what Vitz calls “selfism”.
Perhaps it is time to heed Chambers’ prophetic wisdom and reassess much of what we have been teaching lately in the name of Christ.