Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Great Lie

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:4-6 NIV)

If you search on Amazon for “self-help” books, there are nearly 50,000 titles.  Books about how to help oneself overcome any number of problems have been around for centuries, but have only increased over time as more and more people turn to others rather than God for help.

The great lie of all lies that was told back in Eden (Genesis 3:4-5) continues to deceive us to this day: We don’t need God; we can do for ourselves. All we have to do, according to the self-help formula, is to have the right knowledge and discipline to become the person we want to be.  Want to overcome an addiction to food, sex, or alcohol?  Then follow this plan.  Want to stop the self-defeating thinking and behavior that are getting you nowhere?  So and so has just the plan for you to overcome your problem.  

Self-reliance seems to be hardwired into us.  We just naturally want to do things for ourselves just like our ancient ancestors.  However, the words of Jesus could not be more clear: Apart from Him, we can do nothing.  Leaving Him out of the equation of our lives will not achieve for us what we truly desire. 

Every day I see many students trying to do life on their own.  They may claim to follow Jesus, but their self-reliance pulls them in the opposite direction.  They are consumed with worry about school, relationships, and the future.  They fight a losing battle with lust and porn.  Their self-worth is tied to what others think of them.  I find they want to do better, but usually on their own.  The same could be said for an equal number of post-college adults.  

Usually, we really do want to overcome our struggles and the bad habits we have.  The problem is with our hardwiring.  Our strong bent is to try to do it apart from the Lord.  And, as the Lord clearly says, that will always fail.  

Today, consider what you struggle with.  Whatever it is, if you truly want to overcome it, then give up on the repeated attempts to do it on your own apart from the Lord.  It won’t work.  It never has.  

© Jim Musser 2016

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