Many high-powered preachers and teachers today are telling us we need to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Self-realization, self-improvement, self acceptance, self talk, self love, self confidence and self esteem are the buzz words. Think positive we are told. Imagine it into being. Banish any negative thoughts from our mind.
Secular success / motivation concepts have been erroneously equated with faith and brought into the church by psycologists and misguided leaders in the church who want people to believe that God is waiting to give us whatever we want. In its classical and biblical sense faith must have an object.
Faith can be analyzed as including 1. renunciation of self and 2. reliance on God. These two aspects sum up its meaning. Faith implies the end of self=dependence and the beginning of dependence upon another. (Tozer) The gospel of Jesus Christ is not something to build up man's self-esteem. Christ said: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:32 However, there are many people who call Jesus their Saviour but do not understand that He saves not only from hell but from self.
Self is our greatest curse. But praise God, Christ came to redeem us from self. (Andrew Murray) A believers interests have shifted from self to Christ. What he is or is not no longer concerns him. (Tozer)
Most churches induloge our desire to "feel good" instead of responding to our need to be spiritually challenged and fed through solid exposition of the Scriptures. The electronic church in particular panders to our appetite for entertainment rather than authentic discipleship and maturity. (Hanks)
It would do us good to read about the 14th and 15th century martyrs who were willing to die for their doctrinal convictions rather than protect their rights and self through the courts and protests. SOLA SCRIPTURA was their cry. Refusing to accept the Roman Catholic mass, infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, the pope, indulgences and worship of Mary were reasons thousands died in the flames in front of the community in which they lived.
If Schuller, Peale, Hinn, Hagin, Copeland, Capps, Roberts and many others are to be believed, Jesus and his disciples were dismal failures. They left everything behind to become nomads, trusting God alone for their next meal, a place to sleep and their every need. In Luke 9:3 He said to them: "Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money and do not have two tunics apiece." What a contrast with the name it and claim it , confess it and possess it we hear every time you turn around.
2 Timothy 3:1,2 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blapshemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy... Sound familiar?.