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Such is the snare of the fowler, Satan has selected those things which he knows very well will appeal most to the vanity of the human psyche -then he flatters and seduces the minds of unwary men using man's own so-called wisdom: his learning and his "higher knowledge."
So successful has Satan been in his "seduction of Christianity" that the "gospel of Jesus Christ" has been thoroughly upstaged by the "gospel of man": this gospel of man is a nasty conglomeration of rather appealing self-help methodologies that emphasize and encourage: self-awareness (formerly known as self-centeredness) and the esteeming of one's own "self" (formerly known as self-conceit) and the developing of one's own self-image (formerly known as vanity) leading to the inevitable goals of self-realization (formerly known as pride) and self-glorification (formerly known as: self-deification) and self-gratification (formerly known as self-indulgence, carnality, materialism and lust.)
Consider the fact that the Lord's definition/and His example of "love" is not merely an emotion but it means to give up one's self (even as He laid down His own life for us) and His command to us is that we are to present our SELVES (lives) as a "living sacrifice" to Him, to surrender, deny, and lay down "self." Compare John 3:16 with 1 John 3:16 -the "laying down of our lives" to HIM is: the denial of our own mind/our own way of thinking and human reasonings (in submission to His) -which He has every right to require because the surmisings of the natural mind (self) are enmity against the things of the Spirit.
The "laying down of our lives" (aka: "self") is also the denial of our own will (in submission to the Will of the Father, just as Jesus came not to do "His own will but the Father's") The denying of "self" also includes the submission of our own emotions (through Him and to Him) in that we do not walk by/are not to be led by our carnal desires, or lusts and are not to be led by our emotions/our feelings either but rather are required to submit them (by grace/through Christ, in us) to Him (which is what "our obedience" in and through the "obedience of Christ" in us is all about/it is the obedience of Christ which God works for us(through Christ in us) which is what His "Lordship" is all about! When was the last time you heard a sermon preached based upon this scripture: "And why call ye Me, LORD, LORD, and do not the things which I SAY?" (Luke 6:46 emphasis added)
Understanding the nature and tendencies of man, it is no wonder Jesus told us: Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that go in thereat but narrow is The Way that leads to Life, and few there be that find it. Willingly taking up the cross and denying "self" (not self-denial but denying the "self": --denying our own mind as our god, surrendering of our will to the will of the Father and refusing to be led in the flesh by our feelings and our emotions) and the practice of humility (bowing of our mind, our will and emotions -deferring to Him in everything) even refusing to exalt ourselves and instead esteeming others more highly than ourselves (all that used to be the basic tenets of Christian faith) are now viewed as: personality disorders of religious fanatics, regarded as pious asceticism or the self-abasing antics of misguided impoverished souls who are suffering from some kind of an identity crisis.
In today's widely accepted "humanistic gospel" (taught in the churches) -biblically sound essential concepts of humility and denial of self are not overtly but instead are indirectly repudiated and summarily replaced by man's own self-centered and contradictory philosophies. In today's "more practical gospel" man has re-written the gospel for himself by means of re-defining its terms and giving new supposedly "more relative" meaning to scripture: seeing no need of self abasement or denial of self, man's "own gospel" now portrays himself as having fallen victim to (what is in reality a form of inverse pride, which man has cleverly re-defined as) low self-esteem, low self-worth and a poor self image.
In a clever reversal of the command to humble self, man now uses the man-made doctrines of psychology to justify himself in man's blatant solicitation of ego pumping positive strokes and self-justification of him "self" in pursing whatever seems right, or feels good and "seems positive" to supposedly edify one's "self" even through unabashed flattery. The primary tenets of the "politically correct" but biblically damnable "gospel of self" are summed up in the humanist motto: "be all that you can be" -we are now taught that you just need to know who you are, have faith in yourself and believe in the God, -who believes in you!
The false gospel now combines these corrupt demonically inspired psycho-social-behavioral "oppositions of science" (falsely so-called sciences) with mind-science theology which has been disguised as biblically sound doctrine taught under various deceptive misnomers as: the "word of Faith" and/or "positive faith" and/or "possibility thinking," -even as a seemingly solid "biblically-fundamental" and very popular practice of : standing on "selective promises" until we get what we were "believing God for" -all of which in fact, fosters idolatrous self-sovereignty while we are told is it is just: "exercising our faith."
ADD TO THIS DECEPTION even more IDOLATROUS WAYS: the fact that for generations pastors, popes, ministers, priests and rabbis alike have taught us doctrines and teachings and commandments of men from man's understanding of scripture. Regardless of how well intentioned, self-sacrificing and/or noble the men, men have for generations been following doctrines of men, who have been following-men-who-follow still more men -to the point that the men who teach us and the very doctrines (beliefs) we choose to adhere to have themselves become our idols (which we will vehemently defend as though they were "gospel truth" simply because men used "scripture" to teach them and because many of these things do "get results.")
We do obeisance to men, to their ministries and we venerate their teachings -so much that we tie our identity to these men AND to their teachings...(one says I am of Paul, another says he is of Apollos etc...) to the extent that the churches have become high places of false worship where we follow after gods whom we know not: that which has been born of the mind of man has subverted the counsel of God by His Spirit to the extent that The Mind of Man has literally become our god by which we accept or reject whatever seems right in our sight according to the teachings, doctrines and commandments of men.
And as we have turned further and further from God, to follow men, their ministries and their teachings, -what has served to reinforce us in our idolatry is the fact that "our teachers" (not just popes but priests, pastors -our educators and teachers have become "spiritual gurus" who rule over the flock of God according to their own knowledge and understanding of scripture; and they) encourage us (to do exactly as they do and to follow them in their error) to follow the counsel of our own minds according to our own understanding of scripture.
Meanwhile, the Truth of God's "word" is leavened with gross error (stemming from the fact that -in our ways and our doings, we have left Jesus Himself, outside the door of our hearts, minds and churches: the Spirit of the Word of God has been left by the wayside. In fact, in the Book of the revelation of Jesus Christ, in the Letters which HE HIMSELF sent by His Spirit TO THE CHURCHES, He tells us that He stands outside the door of the churches knocking: He knocks as the written word has been thoroughly perverted in its meaning by many generations of men who have hallowed the practice of mixing "what God hath said" with man's own ungodly logic and ungodly reasoning.