Most people like to be independent. We don’t like being told what to do or how to do it, and we often don’t like it when we need help to do something. We’re stuck in this “I can do it myself” mentality. Being able to accept help, instruction, and correction from others is an excellent trait, but I’d like to look beyond that at another problem.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
Often, our independence goes beyond what I mentioned and makes us feel like we can live life without God. It’s this idea that we know what we’re doing and God can wait in the background until we dig ourselves into a mess we can’t get out of without His help.
If you’ve read the stories in the Old Testament, you can find lots of examples of this. God’s people would forsake Him for false idols, and when things got really bad and they realized that they’d messed up, they would run back to God and beg for His forgiveness. Fast-forward a generation or two, and they would be doing the exact same thing all over again. They never seemed to get it.
It seems so obvious to us that the Israelites should have cleaned up their act and just followed God. It’s just painfully obvious, right? So why do we do the exact same thing today? We may not bow down to wooden or metal idols, but many of us put other things in front of God, which is the same thing. Anything can be an idol if it is more important to you than God. If God is number two and TV is number one, TV is your idol.
An idol is not only a material thing, however. Many of us without realizing it worship our own intelligence. If you think you know what you’re doing with your life and you don’t need God to interfere, you’re saying that you’re smarter than Him. That you know better than Him. That your intelligence is number one, and His is number two.
Look, we make our plans, but without God, we’re just going nowhere fast. God has an amazing plan in store for us, and all that He requires is that we submit to Him and let Him do His work in our lives!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
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