Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I wonder if our primary way of betraying God is by our desire to be self-reliant. The speed at which most of us live leaves no room for reliance on God, nor are we inclined to wait for God’s guidance or provision. At most, we seek God’s rubber stamp of approval for our decisions.

The concept of Sabbath is not one we embrace willingly; at least that has been my experience. Whether discussing the Jubilee year or just one day a week, groups with whom I’ve met are not ambivalent about the notion of taking time off to let God be God for us. I’ve had both millennials and retirees reject the discipline of Sabbath. Sabbath as a spiritual discipline strikes a blow to the ego, teaching us that we are not self-reliant, that God is not subject to our plans, that, as Brother Lawrence said, we cannot go faster than grace.

Self-reliance and grace live in opposition to each other, which is why embracing self- reliance is a denial of God’s power and grace. It’s not an easy word for us to hear, and yet we shudder at the notion of dependence on God’s grace.

Think otherwise? Then ask yourself how willing you are to be seen as irrelevant, unproductive, or powerless by others. Is your worth so rooted in Christ’s love that you can live with these labels in order to be totally dependent on God’s grace and provision?

Both Judas and Peter demonstrated the sin of self-reliance. Judas wanted power and betrayed Jesus. Peter wanted relevance and wouldn’t accept Jesus’ prediction of his death (Matthew 16:22-23).

How do we betray Jesus by our self-reliance? 

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