The Wise Life of Sufficiency in Christ

Photo credit: Pixabay
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
-James 1:5-8 (NLT)

I am my own worst enemy when I come under the delusional belief that I need to take care of myself and that God is not taking care of me.

I still believe God is all-powerful, holy, to be worshiped, followed, and obeyed.  I believe that he cares and that I am have life through Christ.  I believe that God dispenses wisdom to live this life.  I also believe that the life I life is by the faithfulness of Christ.  I believe in growing up from being a babe in Christ, to a young man in Christ, and then a son and a servant or a slave in and to Christ.

I struggle with knowing and experiencing that he loves me, in not only words, but deeds.

The truth is that he cares for me in practical ways.  His care is not just spiritual, but incarnational.  This is the gospel message, that God came in Christ.  Christ who came is also with me.

Jesus came to show us what God is like.  He is the "On earth as it is in heaven", God.  The Lord is like a hen that wants to gather up her children (Matt. 23:37, Lk. 13:34).  Jesus showed his love when he washed his disciples feet.  His love is practical.

So, when we participate with God in the life in Christ, self-sufficiency does not fit in; it is not only not how the life works, but is the opposite of the life, and a sin.  Remember how Jesus said, "As the father has sent me, so I send you"?  Was the Father with Jesus and did the Holy Spirit empower his life?  Yes and yes.

So, Jesus is saying that he will take care of us.  What he has assigned us to, he will pay for, sustain us for, empower us for, and provide for us to do.  His grace is sufficient.

Grace is unmerited favor and God's empowering presence that enables us and provides for us, to live the life.  And Jesus taught us that the Father looks after all the little things, things we might think are too small for him.  Jesus taught us to know God's care and seek God's kingdom (Matt. 6:33, Lk. 12:31).

Self-sufficiency runs counter to the life in Christ.  The message never was, "Become a Christian, then tough it out until you die and go to heaven".  We add things to that like, "Obey God's laws and don't forget to love your neighbor as yourself".

These sound good because they are true.  But the big thing they leave out is, "I will be with you".  This is a prophetic teaching that was applicable to believers in the OT (Isaiah 43:2), the last word of Jesus before his ascension (Matt. 28:20), and taught by the author of Hebrews, who takes God word from Deuteronomy 31:8, and applies it to now (Heb. 13:5).

The sufficiency of God's grace (2 Cor. 12:9) in all of our lives is the Christian life.  To be self-sufficient is the way of the world.  We could accurately say that to be self-sufficient is to not be Christian.

The goal of the Christian life is actually more dependence on God, more surrender to God, and more of a willingness to let our lives be spent for God as worship.  We are stewards of God's grace and all that he gives us.  We are God's channels of generosity to a dying world ("As the Father sent me, so I send you").

The way of the world is self-sufficiency.  The world says to God, "I'll take it from here", "I'll manage my own life", "I am in control", or "I will create the life I want and get all my needs met".  What is tragic is the Christian who lives like those four sentences, while claiming to be a Christian.

'Christian' people like that, live their lives on the stage of their theater.  They are poseurs, fakes, frauds, and hypocrites.  It is also a learned behavior, lifestyle, or culture; that people who do this were schooled or discipled in; by the generation that went before them.  These people often justify themselves by saying, "everyone else is doing it", implying that, then, it must be ok.

Being a fake as a style ("fake it to make it") is not ok.

To be sufficient in or by God, is to live a life in humility.  Pride is the core sin.  In our self-sufficient pride, we believe the delusion or deception that either, "God is like me", or "I am God".  We might never make these statements, but the way we live, and especially the way we treat others, gives our belief, or "rule of life", that is not Christ, away.

Self-sufficiency is worse than other sins because of it is prideful self-righteousness that says it does not need God, or that it has God, when it does not.  The self-sufficient person says, "hands off my religion".  The self-sufficient religious person either writes their own rules, or hypocritically writes rules for everyone else that they don't follow.

We have Christians on the scene today who more accurately should be called "Biblians", "Churchians", "Theologians", "Ecclesiologians", or just "Sectarian", in their "my way or the highway", approach to the Christian life.  We are only called to be followers or Christ and that's what a Christian is.

And Jesus is a person who loves people.  I only remember him getting mad at one group of people.  And he only called one non-believer a pejorative name (Lk. 13:32).

Before I close, I want to make the point that when you let go of self-sufficiency and let God care for you on all levels in your life, it does not mean that you are now set on being a "nobody".  It does not mean that at all.  This is what C.S. Lewis says in chapter 31 of Mere Christianity:
We may be content to remain what we call “ordinary people”: but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan. To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or megalomania; it is obedience.
God has a plan, a destiny, for each one of us, for his glory.  In humility, not in the pride of arrogance,  and narcissism; we get to let God develop us into uniquely gifted ministers, brothers and sisters, mamas and papas, and ambassadors of Jesus Christ for God's glory, participating in God's kingdom coming on earth.  Letting God disciple you into the life of the Son is obedience and faithful love to the one who loves you.

This is the wisdom that God calls us to.  The wise life is a life lived in, through, and by Christ; that is completely dependent on him for everything; including destiny development unto success in life in the kingdom of God.

The secret is that he does it.  The calling contains the provision, attached.  We obey the call to follow and let him, "make us to become".  God is the best trainer ever.