(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 2)
When I see people boasting in their self-sufficiency and declaring, whether through words or actions, that they can do all things through their own might, I think of all my failures, my weaknesses, setbacks, insecurities, rejection and mishaps and I don’t dare say the same.
Any boast I make of any accomplishments MUST of necessity, not be of myself but of my Lord. For only He can make the difference. Only He can get me from here to where I need to be. Truth is I am that pathetic. I am that weak. I am that needy. Without him, I would be resigned to a life of stagnancy.
So, when I see people making their boast in their self-sufficiency and of their talents, achievements and accomplishments (as I recently observed someone had been doing), as they pound their chest, I bend my knees. As they pat themselves on the back for how far they have reached in life and how hard they have worked and the awesomeness of their abilities and all they have done, I use my hands to dry my tears after praying desperately to God, again, for help in my situation because all of my efforts have come to nought.
I look to him and not to self because I know that I need God, not as window dressing but to have centre place in my life and heart. I know what it is to have education, talents and endless ability and still be stuck because the Lord hasn’t given the go ahead to go forward. It is like being in a horrible pit and a miry clay, where the power you need to get out and up is beyond your own strength and no matter how hard you try, that door just wouldn’t budge.
Truth be told, God is the one that enables me and empowers me. Outside of him, I can do nothing and would be nothing but I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me (John 15:4-5; Philippians 4:13 KJV).
My soul will forever make its boast IN THE LORD (and not myself) for it is only with him on my side and helping me, that I have been able to do great things in the past and it is only with him on my side and helping me, that I will ever get the opportunity in the future, to do great exploits.
Truth be told, the tendency of man is to boast of his accomplishments and to hug the glory and praise for himself. As he surveys how far he has reached and all that he has done, he loves to think: “I have done all this. I have done well for myself. I have reaped the fruits of my labour.”
Yet, success or what looks like success is not really success if the vital ingredient of Christ is missing because he was left out or placed on the backburner and failure or what looks like failure is not really failure, if Christ is steering the ship.
God’s thinking is so far removed from how we tend to think.
People may look at you with awe and admiration but hard work and accomplishments are not really COMMEND-WORTHY if you did not put Christ at the centre. Conversely, people may look at you with contempt and scorn but setback and adversity are not so CRINGE-WORTHY if in the midst of it all, you remained rooted in Christ.
I personally love Isaiah 50:7 and 10 where the servant of God declares:
- “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed…Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and STAY upon his God.”
As the Word of God says and I believe in and subscribe wholeheartedly to such words of wisdom:
- “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.” (Psalm 49:6-9)
- “Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually…God shall likewise destroy thee forever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwellingplace, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him. Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” (Psalm 52:1,5-8)
- “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)
- “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” (Psalm 34:2)
- “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
- “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31)
- “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” (Psalm 33:16-22)
- “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions. Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.” (Psalm 20:1-9)
Things may look grim for the person that acknowledges that he is a weakling and that looks to God and not to self for the solutions to the many problems he faces in life. Yet, I sincerely believe that, contrary to popular belief and the erroneous adage, God helps those who CANNOT help themselves and for those who keep their eyes on Him in trust and faith, there usually comes a turning point.
When this happens, such persons will not, dare not, simply CANNOT steal the glory for themselves but will point it in the direction of the one who delivered: JESUS CHRIST. They will make their boast in the Lord and will declare like David did when, out of a humble heart of gratitude, the Lord helped him to finally move forward:
- “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered…But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer…” (Psalm 40:1-5,17)
(Written on 02nd September, 2020)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 24 – ‘The Blessing Of Brokenness’
Under the ‘SINGLE Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 95 – ‘Are You Too Puffed Up, Full Of Yourself Or Prideful?’
On 11th February, 2017, I wrote the following poem:
- Every GOOD THING I acquired in this life, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every MILESTONE that I arrived at, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every BATTLE that I won, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every SUCCESS that I achieved, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every HEIGHT that I attained, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every THING BEAUTIFUL that was created from the ashes of my life, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every OBSTACLE that I overcame, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every BREATH that I continue to breath, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every GREAT THING you see come to pass in my life, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every SHOUT OF VICTORY after the storm, it wasn’t me. HE did it.
- Every BLESSING that I obtain, it is important that you remember, it wasn’t me. HE (Jesus) did it.
On 8th June, 2021, I additionally wrote:
When you realize and truly contemplate on the fact that you have been GRACED by God to be alive, to continue living (although worthy of death), that he woke you up this morning, you having no ability to do so for yourself, that he GRACED you with the ability to breathe and made his air full of oxygen available to you, GRACED you to see, to hear, to walk and to talk, to have something to eat and a roof over your head, to have your faculties about you, to have been kept and protected and preserved up to this point and basically GRACED you to obtain and benefit from everything good that you have and that has come into your life thus far, like a job, a loved one that is a blessing and the talents and gifts that you have, GRACED you with time to reflect and time to repent, to seek God’s forgiveness and to get your heart right with Him (when others were removed from the scene), when you consider, that he could remove it all in a moment but for his hand of GRACE upon you, it is enough to make you sober, to destroy your pride and to make you tremble in fear of God and in humility.