Not so long ago, we didn’t have GPS and google maps. I remember when we were young my dad took us to Portland, Oregon to see my mom’s family and invariably got lost and frustrated. Would he stop and ask for directions, no. He just knew if he drove in circles long enough, he would find the way. After all, he was a police officer—he was used to solving problems and finding things. As the oldest of seven, dad started taking care of siblings at the age of 5, and always had to be responsible. Now I realize, my dad never learned how to handle the stress of life, so alcohol became his escape. Most importantly, he never gave Jesus the wheel. He was self-sufficient, but also self-destructive.
When Jesus was in the desert fasting, the Tempter said you can turn these stones into bread. In other words, disobey God, you have the power, just do it—satisfy your hunger, be self-sufficient. When Jesus prophesied that Peter would deny him, Peter proclaimed twice no way would he do such a thing in Matthew 26. Peter blew it big time because he trusted in himself to stand firm. He loved Jesus, but he didn’t listen and thought he knew himself better than God.
Writing these devotionals is a privilege and a gift but not something that comes easily or naturally to me. If I try to do it on my own, anxiety takes over and writer’s block results. When I say—”no way can I do this without your help Lord,” he steps in and whispers his ideas, verses, and even illustrations. When I pray, “give me your words, tell me what you want people to know”—ideas begin to form. Jesus says, “. . . apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
We can only overcome self-sufficiency by being so radically God-centered in our thinking that the details of our daily lives become petitions, praises, and gratefulness. When we embrace the truth that we only serve in the strength God supplies, we will beg for his help and trust him to give it. When we recognize that God loves our dependence upon him for every need, he will get all the glory and we will have peace. A good reminder from 1 Peter 4:11 is “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”