“Anything that depends on human effort for success is doomed to fail.” I don’t know who first said that, but it has proven to be true in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate of laziness! But I am an advocate of dependence upon God!
“God helps those who help themselves” is NOT in the Bible! What is in the Bible is
“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 your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
And then there is
Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
There was a rich young man who came to Jesus and asked, “What good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16) Jesus first told him to obey the scriptures. The young man replied that he had done that from his youth. Even so, he knew he was lacking something. What must he do? Mark’s account of this story tells us that Jesus “felt love for him” and so said to him, “One thing you lack; go, sell all you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
The sad thing is that “the young man went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.” Jesus put His finger on the one place where the young man felt self-sufficient, the one place where he depended on himself, the one place where he perceived himself to be strong. Jesus saw that the young man’s properties were a hindrance, his perceived assets were a liability. In reality, all the riches he had accumulated had created a lack in his soul because he was depending on them instead of on God. Perhaps the property had been in his family for generations. Or perhaps he had worked hard and invested wisely to acquire wealth. Or perhaps he had written books or painted pictures or given wise counsel that had made him affluent. Whatever it was that had his trust, it stood in the way of obtaining the thing his heart longed for, eternal life with God.
We tend to rely on whatever we perceive to be our strength. Money, physical strength, beauty, family, friends, artistic talent, a head for business, intellect, education, writing ability, a gift for public speaking. even the natural virtues of strength of character, knowledge and experience — all of these are desirable, but they can be a hindrance to knowing God if our trust is in them instead of in Him.Oswald Chambers said it beautifully: “As long as you think there is something in you, He (Jesus) cannot choose you because you have ends of your own to serve; but if you have let Him bring you to the end of your self-sufficiency then He can choose you . . .” ( My Utmost for His Highest, entry for August 17)
We were created for dependence upon God. God did not give Adam an instruction book on how to be a good farmer. He gave him something much better, a relationship of intimacy with Himself. God came to the garden in the cool of each day and they talked. Out of friendship with God would come the guidance Adam needed to be God’s gardener.
Of course, we know that Adam rejected the relationship of trust and dependence on God in favor of figuring things out for himself. The rich young man, though he longed for a relationship of security in God, was not willing to give up depending on his possessions in order to follow Jesus.
Have you figured out yet that everything but God will fail you? Failure can be devastating, but it may also be your best friend if it brings about new dependence on God. Remember: anything that depends on human effort for success is doomed to fail. I hope that young man experienced the failure of his riches and became a follower of Jesus.