God’s chief goal is not my self-esteem

As I looked at the post I linked to yesterday and the then the responses to that person’s post, I came across a warning from one person that the video and accompanying post presents a too man-centered view and is just as fallible as the medieval church and its harrassment of people like Galileo and Copernicus. Well, since we are only able to see the universe from this perspective, how else would we be able to interpret such a remarkable thing as the universe.

In one respect, yes, we are the center of God’s creation. If you look at Genesis, man was the crowning creation of his work. He made man, called it good, and then rested. But we fool ourselves greatly and risk great danger for our lives if we think that God is all about how good we feel about ourselves. I have heard people — often children, but adults as well — say that the reason God created this world or man was because he was lonely. While it sounds innocent enough, it also implies that we supply something that God was lacking and thus works to elevate us and lower God in stature.

We were not created to have our deepest joys come from ourselves through the boosting of our self-esteem. Rather, we were created to get our deepest joy from God, who created us. John Piper explains:

We are all bent to believe that we are central in the universe. How shall we be cured of this joy-destroying disease? Perhaps by hearing afresh how radically God-centered reality is according to the Bible.

Both the Old and New Testament tell us that God’s loving us is a means to our glorifying him. “Christ became a servant … in order that the nations might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:8-9). God has been merciful to us so that we would magnify him. We see it again in the words, “In love [God] destined us to adoption … to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6). In other words, the goal of God’s loving us is that we might praise him. One more illustration from Psalm 86:12-13: “I will glorify your name forever. For your lovingkindness toward me is great.” God’s love is the ground. His glory is the goal.

This is shocking. The love of God is not God’s making much of us, but God’s saving us from self-centeredness so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. And our love to others is not our making much of them, but helping them to find satisfaction in making much of God. True love aims at satisfying people in the glory of God. Any love that terminates on man is eventually destructive. It does not lead people to the only lasting joy, namely, God. Love must be God-centered, or it is not true love; it leaves people without their final hope of joy.

I agree totally with this. But it is a never-ending battle against the god of myself and my constant desire to boost my own ego for my own sake. And it is everywhere. How often have we heard that it is important to love yourself before you can love someone else? It is as if we didn’t have a natural-born love already hardwired into us. Love of myself doesn’t motivate me to love others, but love of God motivates me to love others and be much more happy as a result.

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