Such a photo taken then indeed elicits chuckles. But now that I've reached my senior years, a photo of me gazing so lovingly at myself would (or at least should) repulse people by exposing an egocentric attitude. Yet post-modern culture, with its roots in psychology, mysticism and various forms of self-indulgence finds more subtle ways to promote narcissism. We "deserve a break today" at fast food restaurants, and we buy expensive hair coloring products because "we're worth it." Madison Avenue thrives on egocentric consumers.
The present-day evangelical church also capitalizes on man's innate self-absorption, all too routinely interpreting Scripture in ways that turn God into a Cosmic Bellboy Who exists to do our bidding. In a typical 21st Century evangelical church, sermons gravitate toward topics such as improving your marriage, feeling God's love, hearing His personal whisper to you, and getting answers to prayer. You'll hear that Jesus is your Husband, that you'll find fulfillment in Him, and that He rejoices over you.
I believe the Lord loves each of His own deeply and personally. Do not misunderstand me! I trust in His bewildering love for me, and praise Him for all the beautiful ways He expresses it. But as I read through the Bible, watching His relationship with Israel in the Old Testament and His relationship with the Church in the New Testament, I've noticed that His love for us reflects His glory. He loves us so that we might mirror Him.
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ~~2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)Let's keep the Lord's love for us in proper perspective. He honors us by choosing to love us, but in giving us such a high and undeserved honor, He actually draws attention to His unexplainable mercy and grace.