“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
II Timothy 3:1-7 (NASB)
At this stage in history, for anyone to deny that we are in the Last Days is to reveal a gross measure of ignorance and a corresponding lack of spiritual discernment. We are in fact in the last days, and the above excerpt of scripture underscores but one of many excerpts of scripture which are unfolding before our very eyes.
Here in the West, to be a “lover of self” in the context of the prophecy above, is to be a Narcissist, obsessed with one’s self, by way of contemporary and generalized definition. This is distinctly contrary to loving (i.e., caring for) one’s self as the result of having a life-changing encounter with the Lord–Who enables one to see themselves as He does (see Mark 12:31).
The roots of narcissism are that of a wholly spiritual dynamic, versus that of a clinical, secular definition. The secular designation is that of a poor attempt to define what is in actuality a demonic stronghold–the more advanced stronghold of which we will discuss shortly (referred to clinically as Covert Narcissism).
Demons only inhabit a person when they’ve received a figurative license or invitation to do so. And in the instance of narcissism, I have observed the invitation and/or license to typically come through 3 primary avenues, as reflective of my protracted experience not only as a counselor, but also as a self-inflicted victim at one stage in my life.
These 3 avenues are as follows:
1) That of a deep and unhealed wound wrought of neglect, abandonment and/or rejection (expanded upon further, below).
2) That of the deeply-seated and prolonged suppression of unresolved sin, and, correspondingly, unresolved guilt, which is exacerbated by demonic condemnation (also expanded upon further, below).
3) The very dangerous state of “lukewarmness” as a Believer, spoken of in Revelation 3:16 (expanded upon presently). For it is the lukewarm state which numbs us to the Holy Spirit’s beckoning to maintain intimacy with Him, during which intimacy, among other things, we are affirmed by Him in ways far deeper than man (read mankind) can affirm us. As we then, as Believers, subsequently ignore this ongoing invitation (i.e., gentle prodding), by failing to daily intimate with Him, we then fall prey to seeking it from others. It is in this subsequent quest to be affirmed by the hands men that we thereafter position and posture ourselves in such a way as to receive constant praise and accolades from the same–to the fill the affirmation void. This is the very formula which has led to the creation of 10s of 1000s of “rock star pastors” adorning pulpits throughout the fruited plane of the United States as I type. They feed off the affirmation rendered to them as they stare into the faces of their adoring fans on Sunday mornings. These are no different than heroine addicts. When one has succumbed to such, the Spirit of Narcissism has once again received a first-class invitation to set-up camp within a person’s mind and heart–a stronghold.
As the lukewarm Believer successfully succumbs to the above cycle, they are then numbed to the Holy Spirit’s chastening, and are ultimately released to their own devices and subject to a specific form of judgement in the form of mental illness spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:11: “…for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence…”. The initial context of this verse speaks to non-Believers who continue to believe what is false. I tend to believe it speaks more pointedly of those who instinctively know that what they are embracing is false. I have observed this dynamic played-out in the lives of thousands of Believers, over several decades. This delusion to which 2 Thessalonians speaks, includes Narcissism.
In the case of the rejection and abandonment wound, narcissism serves initially as a form of self-preservation, which takes on the form of serving and affirming one’s self–in the absence of such from others. Over time, self-absorption grows. As it does, the door to our soul that was initially only slightly ajar, is ultimately flung wide-open, following which the demon of Narcissism (i.e., obsessive love of self, in its base form) waltzes-in, unpacks its bags, sets-up camp, stretches its legs, and cultivates a multifaceted stronghold.
In the case of the prolonged suppression of unresolved sin, and corresponding terminal guilt and associated condemnation, one is predisposed to fabricating a hyper-spiritual exterior, whereby a person perpetually sells the world on their divine attributes and their super-human qualities, thus disarming any potential question otherwise. One thereafter perpetually seeks to draw attention to themselves, affording a perpetual spotlight under which they may continue to sell their hyper-spiritual state to the world about them. As long as they continue to successfully sell all others about them, they successfully defer any potential scrutiny or questioning as to what may lay beneath. Over time, the person ultimately “closes the sale” on their very selves–whereas the fabricated superficial or hyper-self becomes their reality. At this stage, gross self-absorption ensues, along with deeply entrenched deceit and delusion.
Lastly, and by way of warning once again, especially to the Christian reader; and while realizing I am in part repeating myself; understand that in the case of those straddling the fence of their faith, and marinating lives of lukewarmness by attempting to allow wanton carnality and marginal faith in Christ to “sleep in the same bed” together; a blanket invitation is released for the tentacles of 2 Timothy 3:1-7 (i.e.,”…a deluding influence…”) to envelope their lives. For the present reality is that the spiritual war being waged about us is far more dangerous than the average Believer can fathom. And until we resolve to perpetually cling to the Lord in daily intimacy with Him, while also through corresponding necessity “die daily” to our carnal selves; we willfully wander out from under the protective “shadow of His wings” (Psalm 91) and stumble blindly into enemy fire–not unlike that of willfully wandering into enemy machine gun fire on a contemporary military battlefield–the end result of which is that of being riddled with bullet-like seeds of demonic infestation–including the Spirit of Narcissism (*note that I call it by name—a demon).
Deliverance from the above variations of narcissistic strongholds typically occurs in one of two ways: Firstly, and following the acknowledgement of one’s condition and the resolve to repent; opting to team with someone in deliverance ministry, to cast-out the roots of this mangy critter, followed thereafter by a willful turning (teshuvah) in the opposite direction. And secondly, through self-deliverance. James 4:7 says that “…if we resist the devil he will flee.” This is the essence of self-deliverance–resisting (starving) the demon until he gets tired and moves on to the next house.
Self-deliverance is quite simple. Below I will outline some cursory steps for performing such:
1) Establish a schedule of concerted fasting and prayer, perhaps for a few days leading up to a pre-scheduled time for your self-deliverance. During this brief time of fasting and prayer (ideally a period of 3 days or more), and which can be a partial-fast; pray that the Holy Spirit reveal the tentacles of this stronghold, that you will have a focused inventory of what to renounce as you perform self-deliverance.
2) As you engage your self-deliverance session, begin by taking communion, and reading John 6:51-58 (from a physical bible–will explain why, in a moment). As you ingest the elements, ask the Lord to further free you from the Tree of the Knowledge and Good and Evil, and to further attach you to the Tree of Life–Y’shua (Jesus).
After first reading the excerpt from John, follow such with the elements. Leave your bible open to this passage, and press it against your heart. Hereafter, close your eyes, and proceed to breathe-in deeply, in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
3) As you maintain the above posture, and with your eyes closed, picture in your mind’s-eye the Cross of Christ, and thereafter focus upon that image. As you do so, verbally renounce the Spirit of Narcissism, while continuing to breathe deeply, in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Declare to it the authority of the Blood of Y’shua, and His Cross. You can use the name of Jesus if you wish; I simply prefer Y’shua for deeply personal reasons, but of course Y’shua and Jesus are the same Person, and the demons know Him by both names (smiling).
4) As you repeatedly exhale, the many tentacles of the Spirit of Narcissism will loosen, and will be expelled. This process generally does not take more than 15 minutes or so. They often exit by making a person repeatedly yawn, belch, sneeze, cough or even flatulate.
5) Following this session of communion and renunciation, do business with the Lord, by asking the Holy Spirit to invade those places in your spirit and soul which were previously manipulated by the demonic; invite Him to take full-habitation of your heart, and to thereafter guard-against re-habitation. Ask Him to water the seeds of the authentic Fruit of the Spirit in your heart (Galatians 5:22-24), which will counter the counterfeit components that were previously at work. The key is that to replace, not to keep vacant (see Matthew 12:43-45). Our goal is to welcome the full habitation of the Holy Spirit’s working in our hearts, not to “sweep” our hearts clean, leaving them empty, as thereafter the “critters” will waltz right back, and wreck the house worse than before.
Wholly counter to the above approach to self-deliverance, secular psychology and psychiatry seeks to remedy narcissism with a Cognitive approach, which attempts to free a person from the outside-in, through a change in thinking and outward behavior, when in fact the issue resides in our heart(s), and to be more specific: our heart-wound(s). The only true freedom from such a stronghold is that from the inside-out, by addressing the spiritual component–which governs our cognition. It is because of the above “ships passing in the night,” that tens of millions of people in the West have submitted themselves to secular counseling and therapy, as well as psychotropic meds, for much of their adult lives perhaps, to thereafter discover that near the end of their lives they had never been set-free of the strongholds their therapists had artfully masked through secular-humanistic “therapy” and medication, all the while reaping the spoils of insurance billing revenues. Hello?
One of the more advanced forms of narcissism as categorized by secular therapists, is that of “Covert Narcissism.” In general terms, the secular definition does a fair job of defining the outward characteristics of such. However, and again, their approach to addressing such is wholly useless in weeding-up and casting-out the demonic tentacles of such, which are very crafty about hiding within the deep recesses of our hearts during secular therapy, only to reappear down the road. This reality serves to pointedly affirm my conclusion that most issues which are readily categorized as “mental illness” actually have their roots in the heart–what I refer to as “heart-issues.”
I have pasted below, a brief video addressing Covert Narcissism, which, again, is but one way to describe what is simply an advanced form of narcissism. As you view this brief video, and as you would experience pangs of conviction (defined by Holy Spirit nudging or tugging within your soul), you may very well have such the stronghold. If so, there’s no need to panic. Simply commit to the above process of self-deliverance and kick this “critter” out of your life, and be done with it. Once freed, do your best to repair the damage to those you’ve alienated and wounded, by more deeply embracing the Crucified Life; daily dying to self, and embracing a lifestyle of authentic humility.