We love a self-reliant, independent maverick. From God’s perspective, however, the weak and broken who have learned to rely on Him are the real heroes. Self-reliance is a subtle cancer of the soul because it slowly replaces our dependence on God with our dependence on our own ability and resources. Unlike other temptations, the more experience we gain and the more successful we become the greater we feel the lethal pull of self-reliance.
In 2 Chronicles, the prophet Hanani was called to challenge King Asa’s self-reliance and half-hearted commitment to God: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chron. 16:9).
I am compelled by the image of God systematically scouring the earth to find the rare treasure. Have you ever seen someone searching for a lost contact lens? They will stop everything and try to spot the nearly invisible plastic disc. Their eyes move slowly back and forth across the floor.
Picture the all-powerful eyes of God moving back and forth across the spiritual geography of the earth, scanning continents, countries, provinces, cities, communities, neighborhoods, streets, and homes—until His eyes suddenly stop. A heart that is completely His is difficult to find. I picture the heavenly beings holding their breath in anticipation and then whispering quietly, “He has found one!”
When God finds such a person, He “strengthens” the man or woman whose heart is completely yielded to Him. He enjoys pouring His power into that person. A “heart fully committed” is not only about commitment. It’s about relying on God more than relying on self. In his early life, King Asa relied on and sought after God. But as the years went by, he replaced his dependence on God with his own experience. He was a seasoned veteran of political strategy and military tactics. He was experienced in leadership. Yet he had lost something vital. His reliance on God was gone.
We need to come back to God, turning our backs on our own proud self-confidence. How liberating to transition from the hollow arrogance of self-reliance to the strength of God-dependence.
—adapted from Unstuck by Mark Jobe (Moody Publishers).