Many common terms make their way into the mouths of Christians: self-confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance are three such terms I hear a lot from those who profess faith in Christ.
Satan craftily uses what appears to be sound reasoning to teach doctrines devoid of Scriptural truth, and thus we have the terms above, all expertly crafted to supplant God in favor of self. Instead of believing in God, we’re to believe in ourselves (self-confidence); instead of giving God the high seat, we’re to give it to ourselves (self-esteem); and instead of trusting in the strength of God, we’re to seek strength from ourselves (self-reliance), depending upon ourselves and our own resources.
And thus, God is reduced to nothing (not in actuality of course, but in the minds of the ignorant). For what is God to us if not the object of our trust, adoration and strength? Through these terms and the teaching that goes with them, Satan has robbed God of his due and given it to men.
Doesn’t anyone see this great contradiction? Doesn’t anyone see that you cannot have both belief systems existing in harmony?
In the world’s disillusionment, it quickly realizes that selfishness is the norm and no one is genuinely trustworthy enough to rely on. This is true, and it aligns with what Solomon said frankly in the Proverbs:
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
But what is the world’s answer? More selfishness. “If you can’t get what you want from other people, you have to get it for yourself”, is the idea. I have heard people proclaiming as if it was their gospel, “Even if no one else loves you, you can always love yourself!”
And thus, God is effectually rendered worthless: for anything you want out of life can and shall be gotten by you, for you and to your own praise. Usually the caveat, “If you work hard for it” is added. But God’s caveat is, “If you receive it as a gift from me.”
Self-reliance is generally defined as: “reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others.”
Sound good, doesn’t it?
With self-reliance we have the idea of total autonomy–not needing anything or anyone else in order to survive or thrive: the true American pioneer. A true manly man. The quintessential woman.
And while it is good, advisable and even biblical (see Acts 20:34) to be autonomous from other people, we never should take advice that would seek to make us as if we were autonomous from God–or, more crafty still, that would simply “forget to mention God” at all, dismissing him as not worthy of consideration in such matters. Not only is autonomy from God not possible (for even those who reject him are subject to him), it is beyond foolish for a believer in Christ to redirect his faith toward himself; to redirect even an ounce of his esteem for Christ back toward himself; to turn from relying upon God’s power and resources, to relying on his own.
Reader: if you are unsure, decide carefully for yourself. Study the bulk of Scripture concerning faith in God, esteem toward God and reliance upon God; concerning the strength and ability of man, the success rate of his exploits, the value of his wisdom, the ability he possesses to retain his own life. Prove how you can have both self-confidence and confidence in the Lord, and I will tell you that you can mix light and darkness, and that the houses of God and of Satan are one house.