“Let’s face it; God has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him? In all the religious books I have read God proclaims himself as a super being, wanting the whole world to lick his boots. God seems to have a big ego... who does he think he is!”
These are just some of the comments that screamed at me as I browsed questions about God and his existence on the internet. There appears to be a strong school of thought among several atheists and the non-religious who believe Christians have created a God of their own making... with a mega ego.
We have the story of the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, about 606 BC, whose super ego was personified in his declaration... as he stood on the rooftop of his magnificent palace; “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power, and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). God soon brought him down to earth through the fulfillment of a dream which resulted in Nebuchadnezzar being reduced to a mad animal-like being that ate grass for seven years. His hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails became like the claws of a bird during this time.
God wanted the king to learn and understand that the Most High allows whomsoever he pleases to rule in the kingdoms of the earth. Nebuchadnezzar was completely transformed through this period of humiliation to the point where he not only came to appreciate and sincerely acknowledge the sovereignty of the true God, but also insisted that all his subjects bow down to the God of Israel.
In essence, God revealed his supremacy as the majestic God of the heavens who carries the ultimate authority over all the kingdoms of humankind. However, many will argue that this speaks even more strongly of an egocentric God, who demands adoration, obedience and worship.
Is God Concerned And Preoccupied With Himself?
Let’s take a moment to examine what egocentric means. It has its beginnings in the ‘id, ego and superego model of the mind’ developed by Sigmund Freud, known as the father of psychoanalysis and one of the most influential thinkers of the early twentieth century. Various dictionaries, including the Dictionary of Psychology by J.P. Chaplin sitting on my bookshelf, essentially define egocentric as ‘concerned and preoccupied with the self, self centered, selfish, and the noun... a self centered person or egotist.’
Yet, the proclivity of human beings to create gods of their own making through the aeons of time is clearly evidenced in the pages of ancient and modern literature. Pagan worship of a plethora of gods and the crafting of idols after such gods has threaded its way into the very fabric of civilizations throughout history, and continues to this day.
Should we not therefore deem it appropriate for our Father to powerfully and spectacularly command the attention of humankind to the reality that there is only one Sovereign God who created the vast and magnificent splendor of the universe? And in so doing, God created the space for people to enter into the loving embrace of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Apostle John’s aptly describes the essence of who God is in 1 John 4:16, 9-10: “God is love... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him... he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” We also note in 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” And in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God sent his Son to die for you so you can live and receive the gift of eternal life.
The absence of ego and the presence of a deep abiding sacrificial love are clearly demonstrated in Philippians 2:6-8 “Who [Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even the death on the cross.” Think for a moment about the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice. How he emptied himself and became sin incarnate for you.
Here we find the antithesis of egocentricity... as far as the East is from the West. The very thought of an egocentric God evaporates as we gasp in amazement at the wonder of His unfathomable love. Indeed, God is about healing your human brokenness (egocentric nature) in a fallen world and giving you refreshing newness of hope and vitality in Christ.
Become A Whole New Person
The Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here.” He adds in Ephesians 4:22-24 “...put off your old self (ego) which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires... to be made new in the attitudes of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The astounding truth is that God through Jesus and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit inspires you to let go of your old self (ego) and become a whole new person in him.
Herein lies our awe-inspiring potential in Christ, leading to a relationship that will enable you to become more fully yourself as you blossom into the person you were created to be. The pages of the Bible are filled with the good news of the indescribable opportunity you have been given, to grow to your full potential in the presence of his divine embrace, now and for all eternity.
In the book entitled Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola we read; “Knowing Christ as your “rest” and allowing him to live his life through you is one of the most freeing things you can know as a Christian. Resting in Christ doesn’t mean being passive. It means allowing the Lord to do the heavy lifting.”
True worship embodies a wholehearted relationship with the Triune God... living in the presence of the Lord and creating the room for him to flow continuously, powerfully and deeply in your hearts, each and every day; in everything you do whether it be in song, praise, thanksgiving, adoration, respect, devotion, prayer, meditation, relationships or your work. This is very unlike the blind subservience and fear-filled worship of an egotist such as Nebuchadnezzar and the gigantic 90 foot high and 9 foot wide gold image he erected to himself, before he was humbled under the Almighty hand of God.
Contemporary psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung gave a fitting description of human nature in the egocentric model, which is generally in keeping with the state of the human mind as a result of the fall of humankind. What a stark contrast to the selflessness of the Triune God who “is love.” God is the personification of love, who died so you can enter into a faith-filled, dynamic, life-giving eternal relationship with Him.