There are times (for me personally, today) when we wake up and think, “oh I’ve got this! I’m winning, finally.”
Right from the start of the day we begin to place all our hope in ourselves rather than in Christ.
… The only real hope we have.
Self reliance… It is dependance on our own abilities rather than what Christ accomplished for us. On our own strength rather than His. On our faulty work rather than on His perfect work.
It is thinking we can measure up all on our own apart from Christ.
Self reliance separates you from the Father. Because you appear to “have it all together” you no longer feel like you need Him and you lose sight of Him all together.
Your gaze starts to point directly to you. On the ways in which you have failed or the places where you are succeeding. You give yourself the credit in both areas. Filling yourself with pride or with shame. You grow weary and tired. You are not your own savior. You can’t keep saving yourself. You eventually fall flat on your face.
All you see now is you, and you become depressed.
The root of self reliance is pride. It’s thinking that this mere human being knows what is the best for her over her Creator Himself. The God who knit her together in her mothers womb, knowing her inside and out. The God who knows exactly what it is that she actually desires. Even knowing the number of hairs on her very head.
Self reliance is saying, “God I don’t need You. I can endure on my own. I don’t want what You have for me cause I don’t believe it’s the best.”
Self reliance is the total opposite of humility. It holds us back from the life Christ Himself has granted us because we are busy working, stressing and being too distracted to even enjoy it.
“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
I Peter 5:5a-7 NKJV
That’s the pattern I’ve been stuck in lately. Thinking, it’s all on me. I’ve got to somehow muster up this strength all on my own.
Thank the Lord that He is patient with us. He intercedes on our behalf. He knows just how many times we will start striving, start to do the work, rather than resting in the fact that the work is already finished. He extends grace in those moments. And He covers us in grace to reveal to us that desperate reliance on Him is the answer!
Major Ian Thomas used this analogy in one of his teachings to describe self reliance.
It’s like flying in an airplane. You start out completely relying on the airplane to keep you sustained in the air. But then as the trip goes on, you start to get comfortable. You begin to think that you are fine to take it from here. All on your own. You decide it’s time you jump and try to fly. You jump out of the airplane, and because you chose to get out, it can’t hold you. You go plummeting to the ground.
Now you can take ten steps in dependence on Christ who lives within you. And He will be adequate and set you free and be ALL that you need in any circumstance… At any time. And human nature being what it is… You are still capable of taking the 11th step in something other than dependence upon the Spirit. And instead of relating the situation to Him, you relate it again to yourself, and what happens? You are immediately thrown back upon your own bankruptcy… What are you to do? Bury your head and weep in despair? No that’s what the devil would like you to do. You now know the principle… You know what you’ve done. You’ve stepped out of your position of faith in the One who not only died for you, but ROSE again to live in you! Having died to what you’ve done, He rose again to take the place of what you are. And you’ve stepped out of that position of faith. So immediately you return to the Lord Jesus and say thank you Lord Jesus the devil hasn’t robbed me of what you are… He simply has robbed me of the ENJOYMENT of what You are. He hasn’t robbed me of my victory because You are my victory… He can’t rob me of You. But he has robbed me for the moment of the enjoyment of my victory. I’m sorry that I doubted. I confess it. It was a sin out of independence but I CLAIM the cleansing that You have promised through Your shed blood instantly and I thank You now for cleansing. I don’t quite know how to clear up the mess that I just made through my independence. But dear Lord I thank You that You are gloriously adequate… Even for that. Thank You so much! Now I’m back to where I belong… I am now depending on You and You ALONE again. You are my LIFE, period. You are my VICTORY, period. You are my STRENGTH, period. I don’t ask you for any of these things… YOU ARE THESE THINGS! For to me to LIVE is not what Christ gives me. To me to LIVE is what Christ is.
Are you beginning to understand the principle? This is the walk of the Christian life– EVERY step taken in an attitude of DEPENDENCE.
If you are feeling defeated, cheated, taken off your guard and you take a step other than independence. Admit it, confess it, rebound it in the position of faith, and GO ON to the VICTORY which you cannot win, but which has already been WON! That you do not receive, but you already have… JESUS CHRIST WHO IN YOU CAN NOT AND DOES NOT SIN!
Christ Imparts LIFE (Major Ian Thomas)