There comes a time in every parent’s life when their child looks up at them with defiance and says, “I can do it myself!” Whether buttoning a coat, tying a shoe, riding a bicycle, or operating a mobile device, our children’s independence is an accomplishment celebrated. Unless it reflects defiance, in which case it is lamented.
Those who concur with Ted Turner’s assessment of Christianity as “a religion for losers” engage in the ultimate “I can do it myself” offense. God’s word teaches that such self-reliance disappoints God and deserves His wrath.
But God’s love provides a way to escape the punishment our wickedness deserves and to experience the fullness of life with God for which we are created. “Christ died for sins, once for all… in order that He might bring us to God…” (1 Pet. 3:18). We must turn from our rebellion and rely upon Christ’s death in our place.
Even God’s children exude without expressing a lamentable “I can do It myself” attitude. We rely upon our physical ability, intellectual acuity, and emotional stability to do our jobs, raise our children, and conduct our lives. When tragedy strikes—loss of a job, death of a loved one, or a devastating diagnosis—we may realize our vulnerability. But in reality we need God’s presence and power every moment of every day.
I’m challenged to more consistently acknowledge my frailty and draw upon God’s sufficiency by the example of Asa. His army of 580,000 “valiant warriors” faced overwhelming odds against one million Ethiopian troops. Asa’s prayer instructs. “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You…” (2 Chronicles 14:11).
Earlier verses show that his prayer reflects a pattern of reliance upon God. In 2 Chronicles 14:4 Asa “commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment.”
He turned to God in the tough times, because he was seeking God at all times. May God’s children realize that “we have no human strength” sufficient for the spiritual battle that we call life. Seeking to live for God apart from His work for us and Christ’s power in us is impossible—“apart from Me you can do nothing”—at least nothing of eternal significance (John 15:5).
May we turn from our “I can do it myself” way and rely upon God by regularly and sincerely praying, “Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You.”