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Wednesday: Self-Reliance — 2 Comments

  1. Making decisions in life is harder for some people than others. Some people make their decisions quickly while others take their time. Carmel is one of those people that makes her decisions quickly. Her usual response is, "That's it! There is no other choice!" I tend to take my time and will consider all the options and sweat on the decision making a bit. So in our household its a bit of a balancing act when we have to make decisions. And, either way, we win sometimes and lose at others.

    I know some folk who believe that have to wait on the Lord for a sign before making decisions. The problem is we often tend to manipulate the sign to get what we want. Or, we use the sign waiting to procrastinate and put off the decision making. I know some old folk who when asked about making a big decision, they will say that the Lord will provide a way. The only problem with that approach is that typically their children have to make the decision for them.

    Self-reliance is dangerous ground. In the academic world, we think up ideas to do with our research and then we present our ideas and findings to conferences where others who are experts in the field can question and evaluate your ideas. I have attended conferences where ideas have been presented and there has been vigorous discussion about the ideas - and sometimes ideas have been scrapped and replaced. I have also been to conferences where the only reason for presenting the papers is to get a paper published so it looks good in your CV (unfortunately that is happening a bit much in the academic world at the moment)

    Dying to self, not relying on self in the spiritual sense, is not just a "do nothing until the Lord gives you a push in the right direction" approach. Rather it is about doing your homework and asking questions and seeking answers, all the time relying on God. In my experience, interacting with a community of believers is perhaps one of the best ways of not relying on self. It is when we cut ourselves off from our community that we start to think that we are better than everyone else - that is self-reliance.

    Perhaps there is also a lesson for us at the church level. We sometimes get the idea that we have got it all together. We have been guided by the Spirit of Prophecy; we have a fine organisation and so on. There are passages in the Bible that warn about institutional self-reliance. We think we can see, when we are blind; we think we are rich when we are poor; we think we have fine clothes when we are naked. Such self-reliance leads to institutional weakness. Maybe God is telling us to look outside ourselves.

  2. Nicodemus was an example of thinking he had to rely on his own physical ability instead of the power of the LORD to change his heart and mind.

    John 3:3-9
    3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
    4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
    5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
    9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.


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