Read Romans 14:7-9
7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honour the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honour the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. (NLT)
You may have heard of the Greek fable of Narcissus. He was a sad individual who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. He could not drag himself away from it and eventually starved to death. An extreme case of self-centredness!
Yet while extreme and fictional, the story reminds us of the dangers of being absorbed with self. The biblical word ‘sin’ describes a sort of self-centredness whereby we see life as revolving around us. We don’t want God at the centre of things: we want to be independent. We want life to serve our interests rather than we serve God’s interests. Paul describes a better way in our text today.
The term ‘narcissism’ is derived from that Greek legend. It describes those who see life in terms of how it affects them. What is in it for me? How does this impact on me? Of course none of us entirely escapes from these considerations. But when they become dominant, we tend towards narcissism. Life becomes all about me. Other people, external events, even God—all are subservient to what I want or what I imagine I need.
Only the power of God can release us from the power of this deeply ingrained perspective. And it only happens gradually. A good daily prayer to pray is simply that God will allow me to look at life through his eyes and so see that while it is about me, it is not all about me.