The Sin of Self-Sufficiency
I was raised on military bases with both my mother and father serving in the United States Air Force. I was constantly surrounded with symbols and acts of patriotism that instilled a great sense of pride for our nation and continues to fill my heart to this day. With that in mind, I have also come to the great conviction that this nation that I love has acted in great arrogance toward God. We have become arrogant toward God not in word but in action, the action of self-sufficiency. Our national motto says, “In God We Trust;” yet, we say with our actions, “in self we trust.” When we take control and remove God from the equation, we stand in the power of our own self-sufficiency, which truly is no power at all. We must understand that we have only two choices: either we fully trust Him or we don’t trust Him at all. God said in Isaiah 42:8 that He will not share His glory with another. I once saw a bumper sticker that said “God is my co-pilot” If He is our co-pilot, we are in the wrong seat. God needs no co-pilot. For the most part, the church in America has removed God from the driver’s seat and taken hold of the wheel as well. And we wonder why we are so far off the path that God has chosen for us.
Long ago I stopped listening to many “Christian” radio stations because it seemed as though they lost their purpose of promoting the creator for their plan of pushing politicians. I am a social conservative; therefore, I will vote for and support like-minded people that run for office. I encourage all Christians to do the same. With that being said, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that there is not a single politician in this world (regardless of how socially conservative or how intellectually superior they may be) that will bring about revival in this country. We can have an on-fire, born-again believer in the Oval Office, in every seat in the senate as well as congress along with every state level position across this land; and that alone would not bring about a spiritual awakening. That’s neither their job nor their responsibility. Christians need to repent of their political idolatry and their mindsets that if we get the right people in the right political positions we will have peace and prosperity. We need to repent and turn to and trust in God as a nation just as our forefathers did. Our faith and trust in God, not man, is what made this a great nation. Psalm 127:1, says “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain those who build it.” Morality cannot be legislated nor mandated. It can only be initiated through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me be clear on this: Christians should support candidates that uphold moral convictions that line up with the truth of God’s Word. I also support the idea of Christians themselves running for political office. There is an attack on morality and family values in our nation, and the devil is certainly using Washington, D. C. for his purposes. We need to stand firm against his schemes and his lies. However, we don’t put our trust in mortal men. We put our trust in Almighty God. God has chosen the church-and only the church-to demonstrate His power and glory in this world.
However, we are not seeing God move in America as we know He is able to. We must understand that it is not due to things going on in Washington, D. C. It is due to the fact that the American church has become arrogant and full of self-sufficient pride. Of the seven churches in the book of Revelation, Jesus was the harshest toward the Church of Laodicea. He said to them in Revelation 3:17, “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” The American church today believes that they are rich and in need of nothing yet they do not know as they sit in their multimillion dollar stained-glassed compounds that they are wretched and poor and blind and naked. We have become rich and in need of nothing, including Jesus; so we trust in our own power regardless of the fact that Jesus has clearly said that apart from Him we can do nothing.
Consider how we view the education of our vocational ministers in our American churches. I am in full support of education. I believe that everyone should pursue as much education as they possibly can. However, we have made the level of education for our vocational ministers a prerequisite of whether or not God can work in their lives. When I was first called into the ministry, I was told by a Director of Missions of a Baptist association that I would never pastor in “his” association until I had a Ph.D. or at the very least a Doctorate of Ministry. For some reason I thought it was God who called ministers into churches. Silly me! When a vocational minister pursues education, he must ask himself, “Am I here to gain tools to enhance the ministry to which God has called me?” or “Am I hear to get a degree that will eventually lead me to a larger church?” I have always been of the opinion if a pastor desires a larger church more that he desires work hard in God’s power to make the church he is currently at a larger church rather than using the smaller churches as stepping stones to reach the so called pinnacle of ministerial success, “The Large Church.”
I have met many a prideful preacher who within a few minutes after introductions tells the story of their level of education; yet, they never share about the power of God that has worked in their lives. I have also met many very humble and godly ministers with very extensive education through whom God has done wonders within their lives. However, we often forget about men like D. L. Moody who could hardly read or write when God called him to preach. Yet, God used Him to be one of the greatest evangelists of all time. Have we overlooked the men God called of whom Paul spoke in I Corinthians 1:26, 27, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” I believe it is well past time that we once again trust in the power of God rather than the ability of men.
We are fortunate enough to live in an age today where the church has the most educated ministers in its history. I personally think that is wonderful. Again, I’m all for education. However, if we have the most educated ministers than ever before one would think the church would be more educated than ever before. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Our churches have become full of biblically illiterate members that haven’t a clue of biblical truths. Unlike the dark ages when God’s word was kept from the public today we have an unlimited inventory of Bible studies, devotionals, commentaries, and many other wonderful tools that help us study God’s Word right at our fingertips. Yet we don’t utilize them. Why put forth effort when we have educated ministers that will do it for us?
We believe we are rich and in need of nothing. The members of our churches do not need to put forth any effort because they will just hire a “minister” to do it. They will hire someone to work with everyone from the senior adults all the way down to working with the children in the nursery. I know that God has used many mega churches in great ways, but I also believe that many people leave the small churches flocking to the larger churches where they can blend in so they will not be asked nor expected to actually do anything. They have a minister that will do it. As a vocational minister, I obviously believe there is a place for vocational ministry. However, according to the Bible in Ephesians 4:12, the primary role of pastors and teachers are “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” I stand amazed at the arrogance and pride of the church today that has been so bold as to tell God, “No, we won’t work for Your service to help build up the body of Christ. No, God, we don’t want to be equipped.
Day 18 Prayer Guide
- Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
- Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
- Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
- Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
- Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
- Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
- Pray that God would reveal prideful attitudes of self-sufficiency and bring about repentance.
- Pray that the church would never put their hope in man and their hope would be in God alone.
- Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
- Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
- Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
- Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
- Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total obedience.
- Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total dependency on Him.
- Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
- Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
- Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
- Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
- Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
- Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
- Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.