Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Kingdom of Me

Father Steve likes to quote this passage from Kay Warren's book Dangerous Surrender and lately, I've found it to be terribly convicting and wonderful:

Not only do I seek complete control of everything around me, but my greatest and deepest love is reserved for myself.  I am desperately in love with myself.  If I am completely honest, I have to admit that there are many times when I want the world to revolve around me- my comfort, my pleasure, my convenience.  I desire that others make me happy, meet my needs, and refrain from offending me, hurting me, wounding me, upsetting or irritating me.  I want to be understood, appreciated, acknowledged, elevated, praised, valued, adored and cherished.  My greatest efforts every day go toward myself.

And in case anyone is wondering, that attitude is totally incompatible with Christianity and is utterly condemned by Christ.  But I'm guilty of behaving like that every day.  These attitudes are probably my greatest sins.  Christianity is about EMPTYING yourself of these attitudes.  

Father goes on to say:

Writing in the Philokalia, St. Maximos the Confessor calls this philautia or self-love and says that this obsessive and narcissistic love of self is at the root of all human sinfulness, lust for power, hatred and violence.  The first maxim of the spiritual life is given to us by St. John the Baptist in the Gospel of John: "He must increase and I must decrease."  In order to follow the Lord Jesus and enter his Kingdom, we must deny ourselves- all our self-centered ways of seeing the world around us and our selfish behavior that results from this distorted vision- and pick up our cross and follow Him.

Lord have mercy.


  1. Lovely.

    Totally unrelated, but your description reminds me of the theme song from Scrubs....