We Don’t Have What It Takes

Mountain climber
Recently on Twitter a Christian with some standing in the writer world tweeted this: “We all need to be reminded more often that we have what it takes. It’s true. You are enough.”

I’m sorry, but I don’t know what world this individual is living in, but in the real one, none of us is enough. We wouldn’t be around if our parents hadn’t seen us through that awkward stage called infancy! We weren’t enough in those early years.

None of us is growing our own food and making our own clothes and pumping our own water that I’m aware of. We aren’t enough in the day-to-day business of providing for our basic needs.

Someone in the writing business ought to be aware that none of us is enough. Writers need editors (or friends willing to read over our work for mistakes) and cover designers and Amazon if we want to do the simplest, most basic kind of publishing. Even if we decide we will put our work up on our blog, we are not alone in the endeavor. We not only need the blog platform, we need the computer and the software and the Internet connection. We simply are not enough.

But of course, our inadequacy is most evident when we look at spiritual matters. Our pride would like us to believe we’re enough. Satan would like us to believe we’re enough. The world, and now this professing Christian, tells us we’re enough. But God says we aren’t.

In fact God says our righteousness doesn’t cut it, that salvation is “not of ourselves” (Eph. 2:8-9), that it is found in no one except Jesus Christ (“There is salvation in no one else . . .” – Acts 4:12).

Quite honestly, I’m baffled. I know this “look to the power within” movement, a very Zen idea, is quite the rage these days. But really? Power to do what, precisely? Do we cause the sun to rise? The tides to swell or withdraw? Can we stop the rain from flooding or bring it to drought-ravaged land? Do we “have what it takes” to force our boss to give us a raise? Or cure our friend of cancer? Do we have what it takes to force ISIS to stop killing people or the Boko Haram to stop kidnapping and raping Christian girls in Nigeria? Is it in us to bring an end to the Ebola virus?

The amazing thing to me is that a handful of people have retweeted this utter nonsense and an almost equal number have favored it.

What do these people think we have in us that “is enough”? Enough for what? And what do we have? What is the “it factor”? And what does it accomplish?

I can see people reading those words now, nodding, and thinking, Oh, so wise. Yes, I am enough.

It’s a bit of meaningless garbage, but it stokes the ego—which I assume is why people think it’s worth passing on to others, why they want to save it where they can find it and read it again some day.

As near as I can figure, ego stroking is all those lines accomplish. They are void of any substance and they are patently untrue.

I shouldn’t be surprised, I know. Satan is all about cutting humans off from God upon whom we must depend.

God uses a variety of metaphors to show us our connectedness with Him, our dependency on Him. He says we’re sheep and He the Shepherd will guide us to green pastures, quiet waters. Christ says He’s the vine and we are the branches, that abiding in the vine is how we produce fruit. He says He is the head, the brain, if you will, and we are the body. Paul even identifies the lack of connection to Christ as pride:

Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. (Col. 2:18b-19, NLT)

Psalm 71 spells out our need for God, as opposed to an independent state of being enough:

For You are my hope;
O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.
By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother’s womb;
My praise is continually of You. (vv 5-6)

The Psalmist did not say, my praise is continually of myself for I have it within me. I am enough.

So I wonder, have we stopped reading our Bibles that we would be suckered into believing this platitude of the world’s philosophy? I have to admit—I feel a little shell-shocked. I mean, believers, or at least professing believers, writing something or agreeing with it and sharing it with others, that is so contrary to what the Bible says is true. It’s another instance of calling wrong, right, and even encouraging others to do the same.

Make no mistake, though. God does not reveal in His word that we have what it takes, that we are enough. He reveals that our best efforts, our righteousness, is dirty, grimy, muddy, slimy, unclean, mucky foul, squalid, sordid, nasty, soiled, sullied polluted, contaminated, unhygienic, unsanitary rags:

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. (Isaiah 64:6-7)

So if by “we have it in us,” this individual means, we have the power of our iniquities in us, then OK. If by “you are enough,” this person means we are enough to cause God to turn from us because of our sin, then OK. I don’t think that’s what they were going for, though.

The reason this false teaching is a big deal is simply this: unless we see our need for a Savior, we won’t want one. Unless we realize we aren’t enough, we won’t seek the One who is enough. Unless we see our best efforts as God sees them, we won’t want the new life we can have in Christ. Instead we’ll be off trying to conquer mountains with what we have in us. Which decidedly isn’t enough.

Advertisements
Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 6:20 pm  Comments (12)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

12 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    WE AND GOD ARE ENOUGH—WE ARE ALWAYS FALLING, ALWAYS FAILING–ALWAYS WILL FALL SORT !!!

    Like

  2. YUP—-WE ALL FALL SHORT (OF THE GLORY OF GOD)! WRITING—OR SALVATION—IS NOT A SOLO FUNCTION!

    Like

    • Precisely! Scripture is filled with verses about our need for God and seems quite short on advice about trusting our own abilities. Thanks for adding another passage to illustrate the point.

      And you are so right about the writing profession. I got stalled on self-publishing ventures, but traditional publishing involves so many people, it’s beyond my understanding why a writing professional would hold to such an idea.

      Thanks for your input, Jonathan.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm…I bet I know who tweeted that. It might be somebody my very first blog post was about…just sayin LOL

    Like

    • Could be, Wally. And it could be that it’s been repeated over and over by any number of people. I don’t want to focus on one individual, which is why I chose not to name the person. It’s the teaching that is prevalent in our society—our selfie society as IB might say—that I want to contradict. Well, actually I’m just pointing out how this view contradicts Scripture! It’s gratifying to know others are doing the same thing.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know, you are correct in that statement Becky. It’s not the person that matters, but the teaching. Well said and thanks for reminding me of that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, amen to this post! Some good advice I once got was, “don’t even try to get out of bed without God.” It sounded funny at the time, but there is truth in those words. You are alive, every heart beat, the fact that you woke up at all, all God’s grace at work.

    Also just waking up and taking note of the fact that God is with you before you try to do anything at all, is the cure for all that ails you 😉

    Like

    • Great point, IB. Reminds me of the line from the child’s prayer” “And if I die before I wake.” That we awake is in God’s hands. It struck me the other day that when we pray for healing, we’re really praying for a miracle because sin has locked us into the death of this body. That we have today is simply God’s present to us, to use for His good pleasure. Not a popular view, I’m sure. But when we grasp that He is sovereign, that He is the giver of good gifts, we can recognize the truth about our lives, and it isn’t that we are enough! 😉

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    great article! I don’t always have someone available to review my work, but I am always thankful when someone can read it once it’s written and provide feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your input, Elihu. Great quote from Lewis! And yes, isn’t it a blessing to have people willing to read our writing!

      Becky

      Like


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: