The Trap of Self-Reliance

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from yourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5 NKJV)

I’d love to have a quarter for every time I’ve heard someone tell me, “God helps those who help themselves.” Not only is this not biblical, the implications of such thinking can wreak havoc on our personal relationship with Christ.

Many, if not most of us, can recall the moment when the reality of our brokenness led us to the foot of the cross. Yet, let’s move forward a few years in our pursuit of God: As time passes and we’ve journeyed through life with our Lord, we sometimes feel less attentive or in need of Him. If we aren’t careful, the sin of self-reliance can slither in. And before we realize it, we are working out of our own confidence and self-generated supply of energy, talents, and skills.

We were never created to be self-reliant. While God honors our commitment to hard work, our ability to live life without full reliance and trust on Christ, and Christ alone, was never in the divine equation. In fact, falling into the trap 
of self-reliance will have a negative impact on our closeness with Christ:

1. Self-reliance fosters pride. Pride is a sin and sin reaps painful consequences in the life of a believer: stifling our prayers being heard and answered by God, quenching the Holy Spirit’s ministry and work in and through us thus tainting our fruit-bearing harvest, robbing us of our peace and our joy, not to mention squelching our intimate fellowship with God.
2. Self-reliance fogs our past, present, and future view of God’s redeeming work in and through us.
3. Self-reliance has a tipping point, which fosters putting our faith in works (legalism). We do not become Christ-followers by our works. We are saved by faith in the redemptive work of Christ…nothing else.
4. Self-reliance stunts our spiritual growth.  The Holy Spirit is responsible for our growing in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Scripture. Self-reliance stifles our ability to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and counseling. 
5. Self-reliance will always rob us of God’s best for our lives.

“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.” (John 15:5) If we ask, the Holy Spirit will help us guard our hearts from the trap of self-reliance. Satan wants nothing more than to rob us of God’s best. Allow the Author and Finisher of our faith to provide “exceedingly, abundantly” a rich and satisfying life.
May you and I rely on Christ and Christ only.

(Kimberly Ruoff)
Scripture references from NIV unless otherwise noted.

Based on God Is Patient and Forgiving on July 6th, 2019 - Watch Sermon