The Dangers of Self Reliance

10 10 2010

Our lives ought to be filled with times of growth, often hitting a low before learning a new lesson and growing our faith. I would like to share a recent experience in that area of life for me. Some Christians will laugh off total reliance on God by saying that “we have to do our part” or ” God helps those who help themselves.” They don’t believe that God is interested in the little issues of life. Sure if you have a major need or a serious health issue or something then God cares but they (in deed if not in word) shrug off reliance on the Lord in small day to day issues. The other group see God as their butler or servant and if they just “declare” in Jesus name He is obligated to run to their aid. They quote the Scriptures that say “Whatever you ask in my name that will I do”(John 14:13) or others that say, “ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.”(John 15:7) They leave out Scriptures such as James 4:3, “you ask and receive not that you may consume it upon your lust.”

I know God is interested in the small things because of men like George Mueller who raised orphans and bought properties without ever asking for money or making his needs known to men. He simply went to his Heavenly Father in secret made his requests and awaited the answer or direction. Reese Howells lived much the same life, as did Corrie Ten Boom, and H.A. Ironside. The Scriptures declare in Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.” Does this mean he will give me whatever I want? No, it means the desires of my heart will come from him. Those who delight themselves in the Lord won’t want the things of this world but the things of the Kingdom of God. Not that He will give us all we desire, but that all we desire will come from Him. This is why He said in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him,  that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us;  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

I am learning this in my life through several recent experiences. A few weeks ago I was scheduled to take part in a pro-life march and rally. I was scheduled to work mandatory overtime just a few days prior to the event. I lied outwardly and said I was praying about it and if I had to work then I accepted that as God’s will. I did pray but surely not a believing prayer but what people could not see is sadness, and anger on the inside was boiling up and my faith was weakening. Spiritually I felt crippled, but I was arguing with my boss and talking about him when he was not around. I claimed to be trusting the Lord but I relied entirely on my own efforts to change the situation and when I could not I got angry. The Lord in His mercy and through no merit of my own moved the heart of my boss to change my schedule and put me on a graveyard shift that day to enable me to go. How much easier it could have been if only I had learned to trust.

A week after that last incident I had another opportunity and this time took the challenge to grow my faith, deepen my reliance, and see God work on my behalf. I work security at a hospital and had to relieve the officer in the Emergency Room for a lunch break. He told me that there was a large and rather noisy group that he had been arguing with to quiet down. He told me I would have a battle on my hands but I decided to take a different approach and ask the Lord to work on my behalf. I in simple (very simple) faith asked the Lord to have them leave the room for the duration of my time there. Within thirty seconds, the entire group walked out of the waiting room. My relief returned about a half hour later and as I was leaving to do my rounds I noticed the entire group walk back in. I said to the Lord…point taken!

A week or so after the last incident, the Lord gave me yet another opportunity to grow my faith. We had a gang member in the hospital and about forty gang members visiting. I had been off for two days and when I came to work they told me I would have a hard shift because there was a big riot earlier and they had to call the police out. They said the group was loud and would try to pick a fight with me. I went immediately to the chapel and went to the throne for “grace to help in time of need.” I waited on the Lord before praying hoping to let the Spirit pray on my behalf so that I did not ask of my own will. After a few minutes the words just poured and to my surprise I did not request the Lord have them leave but that He would keep them quiet and friendly during the hours I was at work. Going about my business that night I heard not a peep from the group. I got to work the next day and found out that earlier in the day the police had to be called again but I felt an air of protection and found that I was not worried about it ( this is the truth of truly relying on the Lord) I went through my shift and heard not a peep again. The next day they were there for half my shift, still not a peep, and they left so quietly it was an hour before I knew they were gone.

When my co-workers asked how many times I had to respond to their group they were shocked when I said none. They said their day was filled with fights, and shouting. They could not believe that I had no issues with them. They could not fathom the battle going on in the spiritual realm and that unseen powers were at work on my behalf. When I relied on my own abilities I was miserable, frustrated, bitter, and angry. When I relied on God I saw Him work wonders on my behalf. Oh Christian, realize the authority, and power we have in the name of Jesus and that God is interested in the small, mundane issues of life. Find your reliance on God and surrender it to Him. He is a loving Father who wants to bear our burdens for us if only we will let Him.

Written By: Rick Garland

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