Our world today is filled with people who believe they are self-made. Bookstores everywhere have sections designated for self-help books, audio books and other resources that promote self-actualization. The online space is inundated with blog posts, newsletters, journals and several products that aggressively promote self-reliance, self-improvement and the need to be in the driver seat of our lives. All these sound logical and interesting to the human mind but the danger is, it is subtly poisonous. The sad reality is that poisons are not served raw; they are usually mixed with the favorite drinks or foods of the victim. While I believe that God’s grace is not passive nor should be mistaken for laziness or inactivity, it is still the best way of life. In this series, I will endeavor to underscore the importance of relying on God absolutely for everything in life.
In Matthew 4:19, Jesus called Peter and Andrew his brothers “…follow me, and I will make you fishers of men…” If you read this scripture with a traditional, legalistic mindset, what you will see is “follow me, and I will make you a soul winner…” but that’s not exactly what Jesus said. Although, soul winning is fundamentally intended, but Jesus wanted to make them in a general sense. I like to read it this way “…follow me and I will make you…”
In other words, if you follow me, I will make you by transforming you into a world class, global phenomenon and increase your sphere of influence with people. (Fishers of men) God wants to make you into an influential Godly leader in your circle of influence that people will start to admire His grace upon your life.
You are probably asking in your mind as you read this “what about non-Christians who are “making it”?
The point is, just about almost anything in life is achievable by human efforts, but the difference is always in the accuracy and the sustainability of such endeavors. For instance, success in marriages, relationships, business, and academics can be achieved through self-effort to a certain degree. The question is, is it sustainable? The answer is, it is not. People get worn-out, tired, and overwhelmed in the process. The way of grace is always the best. Matthew 11:28-30 is so interesting “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” But the message translation is so intriguing and right on point. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The key phrases here are: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Yes, you may be getting some results. You may be experiencing certain degree of success. But at what price? We even sometimes claim that success comes at a price. It’s true but none of us could afford to pay that price. Only Jesus can. Glory to God He did.
This whole concept of self-made rhetoric comes from our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were created in the likeness and image of God with everything they will ever need before they showed up. But they were deceived into focusing on themselves which is actually the true definition of legalism and religion. They could no longer function at God’s capacity anymore. The greatest tragedy in world history happened when they were separated from God. They went into self-made lifestyle. They started clothing themselves with fig leaves and they started hiding. (Things they never considered before). One of the saddest scriptures in the Bible is found in Genesis 5:1-3. “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” My emphasis is on verse 3. “…And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image…”
From that moment forward till this day, mankind has been running from God, hiding from God, trying to do things his own way because he inherited the fallen likeness and image of Adam. That’s the origin of the self-made syndrome. But that was not God’s purpose originally. This new generation of Adam’s off-springs finally produced the builders at the tower of Babel. I will unpack this next week. Be expectant. It’s grace for life. Receive grace and peace for today in Jesus Mighty Name. Please drop your comments in the box below.