Today we are going to start a series of short posts about how the enemy proliferates our fleshly desires and causes our downfall. Identifying each trait and breaking them down into 7 parts to make it easier for you to understand and protect your loved ones from falling prey. Our intent is not to create fear or pass judgement on those with medical conditions but simply to state the truth as presented in the Holy Bible. We are passionate about your welfare, emotional, and physical wellbeing. We welcome your request for prayers, individually or in a group setting. God bless you and me.
DEFINITION: (according to dictionary.com) Narcissism or Self-Love : Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance. It is synonymous with vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, self-regard, egotism, egoism. E.g., "his emotional development was hindered by his mother's narcissism". It is the opposite of modesty.
PSYCHOLOGY: extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one's own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
PSYCHOANALYSIS: self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.
Narcissism is addressed in the Bible in Paul’s second pastoral epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1-7) in the fall of A.D.67. Paul seems to be concerned about the character and behavior of leaders within the church, so he warns Timothy to beware of those who act out of a “self- love attitude.”
He says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” - 2 Timothy 3 : 1-5 NKJV
Here Paul names many of the attributes associated (in psychology) today with the narcissistic personality we are all becoming more familiar.
The Science of Psychology and Narcissism as a scholarly study is relatively young, barely more than a century old in fact. However, the term “Narcissism” isn’t limited to psychology alone. It can be observed through the lens of other disciplines, such as sociology (i.e., Narcissistic Culture); Political Science (i.e., Citizenship and Moral Narcissism); Criminology (i.e., The Narcissist and Threatened Egotism); Theological Anthropology (i.e., Theism and Narcissism); Theology (i.e., Hedonism and Narcissism).
In Psychology, the term “Narcissism” was first introduced by Alfred Binet (Sexologist) in 1887. However, its usage today has grown more from the notions of Freud’s work in 1914. Mankind has been interested in all aspects of mental processes and behavior over many millenniums; as far back as two thousand years ago the Ancient Greeks explored the meaning of the mind through the myth of Narcissus.
Understanding The Bible Through Psychology:
Let us take a few moments to contrast and compare what Apostle Paul says to Timothy almost two thousand years ago with today’s psychological understanding of what narcissism is:
Paul says: “For men will be lovers of themselves”
1. Psychology says The narcissist form of self- love is not a healthy one, as they are full of self-hatred and self-loathing, which they must disown.
2. A narcissist, unable to love their True Self, fall in love with a reflection of themselves (False Self).
3. It is through this projected image that a narcissist can generate the much needed Narcissistic Supply that they crave for their very survival. When I speak of “Narcissistic Supply” I am referring to whatever feeds the appetites of the narcissistic defenses, whether that currency is Primary or Secondary Supply.
(Narcissistic supply is a concept introduced into psychoanalytic theory by Otto Fenichel in 1938, to describe a type of admiration, interpersonal support or sustenance drawn by an individual from his or her environment and essential to their self-esteem.)
Primary Narcissistic Supply is attention gained through public forms (fame, notoriety, infamy, celebrity) and through private or interpersonal forms (adoration, adulation, applause, fear, repulsion). It is important to understand that attention of any kind – positive or negative – constitutes Primary Narcissistic Supply. “Infamy is as sought after as fame, being notorious is as good as being renowned”. The narcissist’s achievements can be imaginary or outward fraud but he will bask in them as long as others believe them to be true. Truth does not matter to the narcissist, only the perception matters. Appearance is more important than substance; in fact, it is the only thing that counts to a narcissist.
Triggers of Primary Narcissistic Supply include being famous (celebrity, notoriety, fame, infamy), having an air of mystique, having a sense of masculinity / virility / femininity by having sexual prowess, and being connected to (or exerting) power through politics, finances, military, or spirituality. Narcissists will manipulate and exploit others to keep their Narcissistic Supply coming in. The narcissist may do this subtly through sexual seduction, fear, obligation, guilt, and the silent treatment or forcefully through lies, threats, or simply discarding the person if their Supply source is used-up.
Sources of Primary Narcissistic Supply are all the people who provide him or her with Narcissistic Supply on a casual, random basis.
1 John 4:16–19, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”
The statement “love your neighbor as yourself” is not a command to love yourself. It is natural and normal to love yourself—it is our default position. There is no lack of self-love in our world. The command is to “love your neighbor as yourself” is essentially telling us to treat other people as well as we treat ourselves. Scripture never commands us to love ourselves; it assumes we already do. In fact, people in their unregenerate condition love themselves too much—that is our problem.
Please stay tuned for the next part of this series that will cover: LOVERS OF MONEY.
God bless you and your family. May you keep on guard and protect your heart and minds from the slick enemy who is always on the prowl to grab an unsuspecting soul. Please share your thoughts and views in the comment box below and share it with your family and friends. You can share your love and save someone from falling into a trap.