Someone once told me that self-reliance is self-destruction. That is more than true for me. I have always had to rely on myself and I always was destructive. I was so deep in addiction, that no one that truly cared about me wanted anything to do with me. I had to find my own way and that wasn’t easy. Even in my first few months at Jacob’s Well, I was running on my own strength and let me tell you, it was EXHAUSTING. It took a long time for me to lay down all my struggles and allow God to do His work. God is, and must be, my answer to every question and cry of need. Otherwise, I will continue to my path of self-destruction. God can call us in the middle of our present obedience if we are doing His will, His way, and in His strength – not ours. For me, I like to prepare. I like well-layed out plans; I don’t do well in chaotic environments. However, I have learned to adapt to those types of environments and pray through it all because otherwise I will start to run on my own and forget that God is in control. Did I mention that I was a control freak? That’s another post all in itself!!
Gideon, an Israelite, was minding his own business, doing what he had to do just to survive by hiding his work of threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites who would steal the wheat if they saw him doing it. Just doing his task. He believed that his clan was the weakest in Manasseh and he believed he was the weakest in his family. That doesn’t really give him a head start does it? He already thinks he is the weakest person in his ENTIRE CLAN. Wow. Sounds familiar. But guess who God called to go deliver all of Israel out of the hands of the Midianites? Gideon! So Gideon takes 32,000 men to fight a huge battle. That’s only fair, right?
Judges 7:2 – The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’”
God wanted to prove a point about self-reliance. It is a handicap when it makes me believe that I can do whatever needs to get done in my own strength. I need to be sure to give God the credit for ALL my victories. Complacency is DANGER…DANGER…DANGER and it makes me forget that I am just Julie, and GOD IS GOD.
Judges 7:8 – So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
God took 32,000 and weeded them down to 300! And the Bible says the Midiantes were so numerous that they were thick as locusts and their camel could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore (Judges 7:12)! I would be shaking in my boots and running away if I were Gideon, but he relied on the strength of the LORD! All Gideon and his men had to do was blow some trumpets and break some jars and the Midianites turned on themselves. That is a Mighty God and all He wanted was the glory! If Gideon had gone in his own might, in his own way, with his own plan, he wouldn’t have survived and Israel would have fallen.
God is stepping in and taking over. He is sick of the hot air that I blow and sick of me self-destructing! Fine by me! The kicker…I must LET HIM! I must allow Him to weed out the army I think I have. I must follow His guidelines (THE BIBLE) because all He is doing is protecting me from myself and from my own consequences.
To further your reading, and to dive a bit deeper, consider this from 1 Corinthians 1:27 – But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
Christ is my strength. I can’t fight these battles alone. My own human knowledge gets me NO WHERE. When I am feeling “better than”, I need to check my motives at the door of salvation and remind myself where I came from. A “holier-than-thou” attitude isn’t the humility that the Lord is seeking from me.