From Self-Reliance to Grace-Reliance

James 4:6-7 But he [God] gives us more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves before God.

In the case of David, the Lord confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom, not for David’s own glory, but for the sake of the land. God often defeats the plans of those who seek personal greatness as accounted in Genesis 11:3-4.

We must conduct ourselves before the world in a way that they see confidence and a clear conscience of living a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. They must see how dependent we are on God’s grace and not on our own human wisdom.

1. Pray for full DEPENDENCE on God

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands (Deuteronomy 7:9).

It’s hard to practice full dependence on God on a daily basis, most especially when things are out of control. In 1 Kings 9:9, people abandoned the Lord who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and instead chose to worship and bow to other gods. Because of relying on their own strength and decisions, God allowed disasters to happen. But those who chose to depend on the Lord (Deuteronomy 31:6-8), He promised to personally go ahead of them.

Our Father in heaven, we praise Your great wonders and faithfulness! We are grateful that You are faithful to keep Your promises and we can depend on You. Lord, we are reminded of the times when we become distant and have chosen to lean on our own understanding when making decisions. We are led to destruction every time. And so, with a humble heart, we come before You and admit that we cannot live a life of purpose apart from You. We surrender our entire being and wait for Your grace to be manifested. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

2. Pray to learn how to accept GRACE

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me – and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Why do we need to accept grace in the first place? In Romans 6:14, it says: “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” This freedom from the law does not give us the access to do whatever we want; to consciously go against the word of God.

But of course, we may choose to become slaves of sin with death as a consequence. Who would want that? We must thank God that once we were slaves of sin, however we choose to wholeheartedly obey the teachings accounted in the Bible, and we become slaves of righteous living.

Gracious Lord, giver of power, endurance, freedom, hope and love, we glorify You. We acknowledge that we are sinners and we need Your grace to free us from such bondage. But first of all, may You help us accept that Your grace is sufficient and it is given freely. And by doing so, may we witness the fruits of righteous living not just from other people but from ourselves as well. Thank You for sending Jesus in exchange for the grace we need daily. Amen.

3. Pray for a HUMBLE spirit

He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy. Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you the power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath (Deuteronomy 8:16-18).

Jesus exposed the hearts of those who had confidence in their own righteousness through one of His parables. By the end of the story, Jesus acknowledged the sinner and assured his justification before God. He reminded the listeners that those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humbled themselves will be lifted up.

God knows exactly what is in our hearts, for He made all of these. There is no need to put a mask on.

Dear God, You are the creator and ruler of everything, we magnify You. More than taking hold of the promise that You will rescue the humble, may we find joy in the fact that we live under Your authority; not to become slaves but to move according to the fullness of the Spirit within us. May we also desire to live like Jesus, the person who perfected the act of humility. Amen.