Self-sufficiency. The scourge of the human race. I know some will disagree and say that our independence should be guarded and elevated above all things, and I'm certainly not advocating that we exercise no autonomy in our lives, but I do want to suggest that our self-sufficient mindsets may be sending us deeper and deeper into the sin of pride among other things.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God... 2 Corinthians 3: 5
We are trained to grow up and become independent from our parents, needing less and less help in daily tasks. This is a hard thing for us mamas, but a good thing. I mean, who wants their 40 year old son living off his parents and playing video games in the basement all day? That wouldn't be pretty. While it's hard to let our kids go, this big picture gives me a good long-term perspective. So, independence is a must in some areas and we need to encourage this. At the same time, though, our hearts seek independence from the One Parent whom we must never leave.
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
(Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, text by Robinson)
Our brains know that it is God who provides all things and we thank Him in our prayers, yet in the day to day we live in a way like everything is all up to us. We stress and overwork ourselves because we stray from the One who holds all things. He has given His children gifts, talents, jobs, homes, children to care for, our bodies and even the breath we breathe...yet I am susceptible to begin thinking all things are ultimately up to me. I step up and start taking on all the responsibility--and ultimately the glory.
This is pride. And, it just needs to go. But, it must be replaced with humility because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. How can independent creatures at heart ever surrender and depend upon Another? This can only be accomplished through the power of Jesus Christ.
- As we trust in Him, we can daily thank God for every little thing. The more we acknowledge His work, the more we thank Him for it, the more humble we become because we give credit where it is due.
- Do something hard. Why does my child fight against that hard assignment? Because it reveals his inability, it shows his weakness. And, that hurts his pride. I'm no different. When someone asks me to do something hard at church, at work, wherever, I want to decline so I can save face. But, when God leads me to a difficult thing, I have no other option than to depend upon Him for everything I need. This is always exactly what I need because that is when He increases and I decrease. As challenging as it is, I see Him more clearly and I'm grateful for the chance to annihilate my pride.
- Look for ways God is at work in others. When a friend encouraged me to do this, I was struck at how that does not always come naturally for me. Instead of criticizing another's sin, though, it is far more humbling to search for God's handiwork in them. My pride wants to crush others; humility lifts them up. And, when we tell others how we see God at work in them, just watch their faces light up! We all know how easy it is to become discouraged from the sin that tries to bury us alive so let's be intentional in building one another up.
The fight against our pride all depends upon our ultimate surrender to Jesus and His work. Can we give up the self-glory and exalt Him instead? For our Lord is worthy to receive glory and honor and power; for He created all things, and by His will they exist and were created.