Self-strength stages an illusion. God creates life.
Self-effort causes stress. Jesus provides salvation.
Self-help brings exhaustion. The Holy Spirit brings peace.
Why is it that stopping self-improvement projects and waiting for God to perform change in us is out of our radar? Why is is that trusting God, turning around and repenting is so hard?
God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
has this solemn counsel:
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me—
The very thing
you’ve been unwilling to do.
(Isaiah 30:15, MSG, emphasis added)
We can’t save ourselves, no matter how hard we try. We can’t make ourselves more loved by God, no matter how we try to improve ourselves. We can’t make ourselves bear fruit, no matter how much self-effort we put in. We can’t rule our lives, no matter how much control we try to keep.
We are saved by Jesus, not by self-help.
What to do then?
We can stop trying and start trusting.
We choose God and say goodbye to the world’s ways.
We say yes to God and we say so long to silly self-help.
We accept grace and we bid farewell to self-effort.
We do this by repenting and turning back to God. By stopping our own self-help efforts and surrendering to God. Repentance is a choice that we make – by the grace of God – every day of our lives.
Without starting our days with God, we have a natural tendency to take control back from God. And that leads to stress and exhaustion. In order to live and grow in grace we need to linger in God’s presence. To be filled to the brim with God’s love. Then we are ready to face the world.
Then it’s not us making ourselves strong, but God being our strength.
Then it’s not us saving ourselves, but trusting Jesus to save us by grace through faith.
Then it is not us making ourselves good, but the Holy Spirit changing us for good.
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! (Hebrews 6:1-3, MSG, emphasis added )
God helping us…
… we’ll stay true to the gospel.
… we’ll choose God and his will daily
… we’ll put our confidence and trust in God.
Let’s get on with it!
So long, silly self-help!
Come, Lord Jesus!
We ask for your forgiveness
for thinking we are authors of our lives.
Enable us to bid farewell to
self-help, self-effort, self-strength.
We welcome you to do with us as you please.
Fill our lives to the brim with your grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Have you bid farewell to self-help? Why? Why not?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you choose to trust God and grow in Christ!
Giving thanks today for
#691 I am not the author of my life
#692 faith is confidence in God, not in me.
#693 faith is trust in God, not in my abilities
#694 faith is submission to God, not to the lies of the world.
#695 I can stop trying and start trusting.
#696 I can work WITH God.
#697 While I abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit changes me.
#698 God is my strength.
#699 God is my provider.
#700 God is my everything.
Image courtesy of Jon Romero. Linking up today with Linking up today with What’s on Your Heart Tuesdays , Wordfilled Wednesday, All Things Heart & Home , God-Bumps and God-incidences , Work in Progress, One Word at a Time: Silly and