Desiring God founder John Piper is weighing in on selfies, urging Christians and social media users to recognize that in a self-obsessed culture their self is actually meant to point to God.
In response to
a question he was asked Monday about whether the large presence of
selfies and self-centered social media is an indication that the last
days are near — where 2 Timothy 3:1-2 speaks of "difficult times" and
people being "lovers of self" — the theologian said yes and no.
"Vlogs, selfies, and self-focused social media are often (not always)
an expression of the self-exaltation, self-preoccupation, and
self-fascination of these last days," Piper acknowledged.
these new technologies are not the emerging of such final experiences
of sin. They've always been there. The new technologies are giving new
ways to express old sins."
While these are the last days, they are
not the very last days, he continued, and Christians ought to wait in
hopeful expectation of an all-satisfying Christ who will one day return.
Jesus came into the world as the long-expected Messiah, he declared the
arrival of the kingdom of God, which the Old Testament anticipated as
part of the last days," Piper explained.
And at Pentecost Peter
explained that the supernatural events that were occurring were the
fulfillment of the prophet Joel's words, when he said "and in the last
days it shall be ... that I will pour our my Spirit on all flesh." These
"last days" Joel was referring to in the time just after Jesus came to
earth were the start of the "last days" and we have been living in them
ever since, Piper argued.
That the Apostle Paul counseled Timothy
to "avoid such people" who are "lovers of self" indicates that the last
days had already arrived, because the people to avoid were already
present, not 2000 years away from showing up brandishing smartphones, he
"God gave us a self, not so that we would have something to
exalt in, but something to exalt with. He gave us a self, not to be the
object of our joy, but the subject of joy. That is, not to be the focus
of happiness in front of the mirror or the selfie, but the furnace of
happiness in front of Jesus."
And the self is an instrument of
worship, he went on to say, a "desire factory" that points to something
outside of ourselves, the joy of the Lord, since nothing in this world
"The desires of the human self are meant to
lead us to God, in whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right
hand are pleasures forevermore," he said, making a reference to Psalm