Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lose Your Self-Reliance

My husband’s life verses are:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:3-5)
These verses were in his grandmother’s home so upon visits to her house-- and there were many in the summer when he was young and she lived in town-- that he pondered these words.

In later years they became dear to him not only because of their familiarity and the blessed association he had of wonderful times visiting his grandmother and likewise spending a great deal of time with his cousin, but because his relationship with God deepened, and the fullness of the words spoken in the Bible became something he could hold onto in all seasons to bring him to the right direction of how he should respond and walk in a manner pleasing of God.

Oh, how we need a fresh wind of faith and action in the church of Christians--in general--of deep reliance upon God alone! It is quite an easy thing in America to claim to be a Christian and quite a remarkably different thing to actually be a Christian. And I am sure many wonder what could be the difference.

Isn’t it enough to simply claim to want and know Christ?!?!? (Keep pondering this and read on.)

It is far easier to NOT be a Christian than to be one regardless of what we claim to be. Everyone knows a person’s actions really tell what they believe. We humans do what we believe--our actions are our testimony of faith.

In life we have too many crutches, conveniences and, frankly, distractions. We make ourselves busy about things that amount to nothing, and yet it is these very things that will build us into the person we will be and are. We are what what do, as much as we are what we eat. What we allow to be fed into us will become us.

So we must chose carefully

each day

what we will do

and how we will occupy

the moments of the day

that build into the minutes and hours. 

For some days--I know--half the day is gone before I have even considered what I am doing. This is self-reliance!

And we are building a bad habit in our 21st century life. We are awaking and while still lying on our backs in bed we have reached for our phone and begun filling our mind with the feed of the day. Yes, even before we have had time to greet the LORD of the day. This is self-reliance!

I confess, being over fifty that it is much harder to chop off the distractions and to not be tempted to reach out for our means of distraction than it was ten or twenty years ago.

In Context

Chapter 3 in Proverbs gives us the benefits of wisdom. It is addressed to “My son” and he is instructed “do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commandments;” (Proverbs 3:1).

After this instruction a blessing is promised for those who keep God’s commandments: 
For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.” (Proverbs 3:2)
We are also told in verse 7: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil” and then given another promise of blessing in verse 8: “It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.

 God warns that we should “let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3-4).

Three times in Chapter 3 God admonishes us to be reliant on Him and His instruction. The first was in Proverbs 3:1 which is quoted above. The other two are:

  • My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, jus as a father the son in he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12) and
  • My son, let them not depart from your eyes--keep sound wisdom and dissertation; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck” (Proverbs 3:21-22).

And He continues with another very reassuring promise for those who rely on Him. It is a conditional phrase, and if-then proposition. If you do these things then God will do this:
Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught (Proverbs 3:23-26).


So, now that we know what we should do and how God will bless us if we live a life that is not self-reliant to the point that we are not God-reliant first, what is your response? 

How will you and I adjust our life?

And this is why my church sets aside forty days beginning in the middle of January to help us to refocus on God and His ways and His desires for our life. I have 35 days to go and already I have quite enough adjustments that need to be made to my life, but will they be temporary or permanent. 

How much do I want to change? 

How much do I want God to be my life?

When it gets down to the stark reality of how my relationship is going with God the only person responsible for its condition is me. 

How steadfast am I? 

How surrendered am I? 

How strong am I to cut out the things in life that distract me from God, His precious voice, and His enabling to live every moment as nearly as possible for Him?

Am I seeking to be and live in HIS presence? To be sensitive to HIM and Him alone?

As a mother and wife, what I do daily for my family and others is a living sacrifice unto HIM. But more important than what I do, is who I am, which to a deep degree is reflected by my devotion to HIM, and surrender of my wants and wills to His.

For this I need to hear His voice, and feed the Holy Spirit in me so that His voice is louder than my own and the world. Am I living based on conviction of God and what He tells me or confidence (or approval) of others? Am I walking with the herd (the majority), the approval of people around me or am I living based on my deep conviction God has given me?

I need to live by this mantra:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:3-5).

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