Freedom from the Bootstrap

With a bit of unconcealable pride, his rugged time-worn face lit up with a smile as his resonant voice announced, “I did not have anything when I started. Today, I have all this. I?m a self-made man!” While such a sentiment exudes a certain upbeat positiveness, it is nonetheless a prisoner of the unwarranted belief, “everything depends upon me.”
To be sure, Scripture encourages a strong work ethic and pursuit of our work as though it is for the Lord himself. Colossians 3:23 But what Scripture does not support is the arrogant attitude which can falsely arise from perceiving ourselves as being responsible for all we’ve received. Deuteronomy 8:10-14
There are more pitfalls to the bootstrap mentality than just arrogance. When situations beyond our control impact our lives and limit our options, if we have embraced a bootstrap mentality, this can lead us toward depression and be a source of self-flagellation. “If only I were better, then I would have foreseen this and ….” Noble efforts do not always pay off. Ecclesiastes 9:11 God seeks to release us from both delusional ends of the bootstrap mentality spectrum.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, Paul’s confession is quite revealing about how God wants us to live. Having faced tremendous burdens which led him to even despair of life, the apostle discovered that this was “so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” That period of difficulty, as undesirable as it was, further galvanized Paul?s realization of his dependence upon God. As he thought about his future, he understood it as anchored upon God, not upon his own power and intelligence.
Evaluating Our Attitude by Our Prayers
While most people like to think of themselves in a positive light, sometimes an objective means for self-evaluation can be helpful. Our prayer life can be just such a tool.
? Do your prayers acknowledge your dependence upon God when situations are going well, or only when there is crisis?
? How often do you go to God in prayer, casting your cares upon Him knowing that He will sustain you? Ps. 55:22; 1 Peter 5:6-7
May each of us experience the freedom which comes from being released from the weight of thinking that “everything depends upon me.” As a servant of God, work hard and do what you know to do as you continually depend upon His mighty hand to strengthen, sustain, and bless.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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