I was reading in my Bible in preparation for next week's sermon, and was irresistibly drawn to this passage from I Timothy 3: "For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power."
I look around at American society today and see self enthroned in place of God everywhere I go. Self-esteem is valued above actual accomplishment, profit is the greatest motivator, rules were made for other people, not us! No one watches what they say, self-control - especially with regard to sex - is a punchline rather than a virtue, and ultimately, the highest possible pursuit is to achieve the greatest pleasure rather than to do the greatest good. People want the comfort of religion without having to meet God's requirements of righteousness. Responsibility is eschewed in favor of "personal fulfillment," and if someone gets in the way of those things, then they are to be discarded because they are "holding you back."
Thus we have a nation of children being raised by single mothers because their biological fathers got what they wanted - a moment of sexual pleasure - and are too busy now seeking it from someone else to worry about parenting the child they brought into the world. Thus we are obsessed with the comings and goings of celebrities whose lifestyles, for the most part, are nothing but pure hedonism mixed with pop-culture political stances that are boringly predictable and largely anti-Scriptural. Now we see a 65-year old father and husband abandon his responsibilities to his ex-spouses and children in order to pursue his dream of being surgically transformed into a synthetic woman, and hailed as a paragon of courage for doing so!
Anyone who holds to Scriptural standards of human behavior, especially in the realm of sexuality, is almost uniformly condemned as a hateful, mean-spirited, puritanical bigot - no matter how lovingly they express their disapproval, no matter how many caveats they might add about the fallen nature of mankind and their own struggles with sin. To disagree is to hate, to disapprove is to be a bigot.
As for free speech? Forget it. College campuses nationwide have branded almost any opposition to the sacred causes of the Left as "hate speech" and those who refuse to be cowed into silence are frequently threatened with expulsion, or so bullied by the activists of whatever cause they dared question that they leave for their own safety.
The worship of self holds so many dangers, theologically and psychologically, that it defies the limits of this blog to enumerate them. If there is nothing higher or better than ourselves, then we become our own God. When we replace God with ourselves, we dictate our own rules. It's only a short stop from narcissism to pure sociopathy. Worst of all, this generation of pleasure-seeking pink robots, programmed by Hollywood and liberal academia, will amuse themselves straight to the gates of hell if God's church doesn't do something to stop them.
So what does all this mean? For one thing, it demonstrates yet again the prophetic accuracy of God's word. It's all unfolding exactly as Paul foretold it would. It also shows how desperately our world today needs people - especially young men and women - to boldly stand up for Biblical truth in a culture that is being misinformed and misled spiritually at every turn. Today's young Christians are a generation of Daniels, shining God's light in a world that does not want or appreciate them, but desperately needs them.
Shine on, my young friends. Shine on.