ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
Demon - Is Thy Name "Self?"
Thomas A. Carder
While I am by no means an expert nor am I particularly wise in spiritual matters, there seem to be many types of human obsession, or in another word, "possession." The type of possession that first comes to mind is spiritual possession by Satan's demons as those Jesus cast out into the swine. On a more direct conscious sensory level, possession may be thought of as addiction, for example to drugs or alcohol because such addiction "possesses" one's will. Thus, the lust for drugs and alcohol may be thought of as a possessive demon. Indeed, any lure or consequence which is counterproductive to man's service to God is truly not from God, but is in fact from Satan.
Addiction commands the suffering individual to dedicate some or all of his/her attention and personal resources to obtaining that to which s/he is addicted. In other words, addiction forces some degree of servitude and sacrifice to the addicting agent. While addiction to drugs or alcohol demands some servitude and sacrifice from the victim, I believe there is a more basic or rudimentary type of addiction which can be more commanding and draining: the additction to satisfying the "Self." All other sensory-level addictions seem subordinate to the desire to satisfy the Self. And as the Self is consumed by the addiction to self-satisfaction, I believe the soul can be left vulnerable to spiritual influence which some call possession. I believe Satan and his demons can lay temptation in the path of God's children: temptations that are so greatly desirable and pleasurable that to resist or ingore them is almost impossible. And Satan surely tempts us at our weakest moments. However, I believe that Satan cannot force anyone to yield to a temptation: that is a matter of individual choice. To sample the temptation or to become addicted to it, i.e., possessed by it, is a matter of choice to satsify a selfish desire, thus, self-possession.
As I see it, self-possession is the strong fixation on self-actualization, self-fulfillment, self-gratification, self-this, self-that -- each is egocentric (self-centered), placing the Self at the center of the individual's universe. Examples of egocentrism, or self-ness, include "Take care of number 1," "Toot you own horn," "If it feels good, do it," "If you got it, flaunt it," and "Do unto others before they do unto you." Anton LaVey's "Do what thou wilt," the first commandment from his satanic bible, more than any other item of selfness or egocentrism glorifies and elevates the Self above all.
Selfness is a sweet treat to the innately sinful nature of man: selfness is a "candy" for the Self. It seems selfness candy is plentiful in the New World Order (NWO) movement and humanistic beliefs. Satan and his demons use selfness candy to sway an observer from practicing previously embraced Christian ethics, or to prevent an observer from ever coming to know the strength and peace in Christian ethics. Selfness candy can be seen in almost every media, especially the entertaiment media. All seem to provide poor examples of how one may obtain more satisfaction and self-gratification, sometimes at any cost, even to the extent of sadism and vengance. Selfness candy may appear in small and covert ways. Selfness candy may even be invisible: invisible to even the learned adult let alone the gullible, naive, innocent child, but are present nonetheless. And as long as selfness candy is present, it does its damage whether noticed or not.
It is no wonder why some youth grow up believing they must take care of "it" themselves: that only what they want when they want it in the way they want it is good enough; that they may and indeed should question all authority with impunity! (see Special Report-001, "Investigation Area Scoring and Trend") I believe the key tools of unholy influences to lure children away from Jesus are selfness candy.
Therein lies my connection of selfness, or egocentrism, with demon possession. That the lust to satisfy one's Self is, in a way, a demon when allowed to overcome or to prevent the host from placing God above all.
It is our Scriptural charge to place God above all in all ways. He is to be exalted and praised above all. He is to be the only God: the only Master we serve. And we cannot fully serve him if we are serving our selves to the exclusion of Him. Demons have a maniacal goal to destroy God's sovereignty over our hearts and minds. To do that they must conquer our allegience to Him. And the best way to destroy God's sovereignty over our hearts and minds is to feed and nourish our innate selfness and make us feel as though we don't need God, that we need only ourselves, that we have everything we want and need, that we can trust only ourselves.
Consider this. To feel selfish about something, one must feel a sense of ownership or desire for ownership: the MINE! MINE! syndrome. With a sense of ownership comes a measure of possessiveness. Thus, selfishness tends to lead to possessiveness. When one has possession of something, s/he might tend to feel "I have it. What are you gonna do about it?" Thus, possessiveness leads to arrogance. When one develops arrogance about possession of something, s/he might tend to feel insulated from invasion. Thus, arrogance arrogance tends to lead to independence. When someone feels independent of invasion, a sense of control and power might manifest. With power usually comes desire for more of whatever 'it' is. Thus, independence in turn leads back to selfishness. All are examples of self-ness.
Recall the story of the little boy I will call Johnny who was not well accepted by the ball team forming to play a little basketball. The only baskeball available to the boys belongs to Johnny. The other boys did not want Johnny to play but needed his basketball. Sensing this, Johnny thought "If they won't let me play I'll just take my ball and go home." Johnny was experiencing selfishness. He could say MINE! MINE! about the ball. It was his ball and they couldn't have it unless he said so. Johnny was now experiencing possessiveness. He could do anything he wanted with the ball. He could tell the other boys that they could not use his ball and do so with his nose stuck in the air. Now Johnny was feeling arrogance. "They can't do anything about it because the ball is mine! If they want to play with my ball, they have to let me play! And if they don't, I'll just take the ball and go home because it's my ball. And they will have to let me play in whatever position I want. I might tell them who can play in which position. I might even tell some of them they can't play because it's my ball! I might even play all by myself!" Johnny was now experiencing independence from the influence of the being rejected by the other boys. "Those guys are now going to have to ask me if they can play with me because it's my ball! I may never let them play with it!" See now how independence can lead to a feeling of power and control which can lead to further selfishness?
The picture below graphically displays the selfness loop.
This loop of selfness does not have Jesus at the center of the loop, indeed, it has only the Self at its center.
Replace each the four items of selfness in the Self loop with a reciprocal and a whole new light appears. Think of the reciprocal of selfishness as sacrifice, the reciprocal of possessiveness as indebtedness, the reciprocal of arrogance as respect, and the reciprocal of independence as servitude. All are examples of self-less-ness.
Thus the loop changes to sacrifice leading to indebtedness, indebtedness leading to respect, respect leading to servitude, and servitude leading back to sacrifice.
Go back to the story of little Johnny and his basketball. But this time, let me give Johhny a little humility. The other boys still do not want Johnny to play, but Johnny lets them use his ball. Johnny has now performed a sacrifice so the other boys could play basketball, even though he could not play. "Well, now" thought the other boys. "Johnny has never let us use his ball before without making us let him play! Maybe we should do something nice for Johnny to let him know we appreciate what he has done? We really do owe him something for being so nice." The boys are feeling a little humbled and are feeling indebtedness to Johnny because he let them use his ball without a fuss. "We gotta admit that Johnny is okay after all. And he really ain't that bad a baskeball player anyway." Now the boys are feeling some respect for Johnny. "Hey, Johnny. That was really cool of ya to let us use your basketball in such a nice way. How 'bout we help you with cleaning up your yard and garage. We know how much you don't like doing those things. We don't like doing them either, but we'll help ya anyway because of the nice thing you did for us." The boys are now feeling a little servitude to Johnny as "payment" for the nice thing he did for them. And in the work they offerred to do for Johnny, the boys performed a sacrifice of their own time and effort, and a sacrifice it was since the boys did not like to do yards and garages. And in this union of friends gathering for a common purpose, each willing to do something (sacrifice) for the other, a sense of brotherhood develops as each is eventually indebted to all for common favors performed over and over again.
The picture below graphically displays the selflessness loop. This loop of selflessness indeed has Jesus at the center.
As one performs a sacrifice for me, I properly develop a sense of indebtedness to he who made the sacrifice for my sake. And as a product of the indebtedness, a strong feeling of respect grows in me. By this respect borne of selfless sacrifice for my sake, I easily develop a desire to do something for him who sacrificed so greatly for my sake. And in that servitude, it is easy for me to want to return the favor for He who sacrificed for me.
It is easy to replace "Self" with Jesus. For Jesus to take His rightful place in your heart, all you have to do is ask. I have. And I am emotionally stronger, wiser, and have such greater peace than ever before. I love everybody and I even love myself. And for me to love myself was the hardest hurdle to cross. If your interest has been tweaked, find a Pastor or other man of God and ask him to explain. Once you've let Jesus take His rightful place in your heart, you will have an answer to "Demon - Is Thy Name 'Self'?"
In this article, I have used "Self" in what may seem to be the same context as the individual. That which makes you special to yourself is your Self. It does not mean that the Self is you. You can by choice change your Self while it is unlikely, even by choice, that you can change yourself. The Self I speak of is that part of you which you use to make decisions and choices. Your Self includes your desires, wishes, and dreams; your anger, hate, and love. All of which you can change by choice and all of for which you are accountable. And if you are like me, you may need to change some of the parts to your Self.
I am not practicing psychology, psychiatry, or any other mental health science. I am passing on to you a possible way to view human obsession: a way that does not pass on the blame to a bad childhood, abusive parents, or to some exaggerated trauma. I do not wish to offend or belittle anyone by this presentation, nor am I saying that anyone is a demon. I merely wish to offer a different way of looking at accountability.
Hear me, people! You will live forever. And where you will spend enternity is up to you and your God-given right to choose...your free will...you are accountable for where you will spend eternity. To spend eternity in heaven you must choose to accept believing that Christ Jesus died that you may be forgiven of your sins. If you do not, by not chosing you chose to spend eternity in hell!
Please, for your sake and for the sake of my Christian love for you, talk to a Pastor or other man of God about the mystery and simplicity of the saving grace of God. It is free! And it is simple! But you have to ask for His grace. You are accountable for your salvation...no one else can ask for you.
May you take wisdom from this different view of accountability and use that wisdom to defeat the demon whose name may be "Self."
In the sweet and holy name of Jesus:
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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In the sweet and holy name of Jesus:
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) 1996