When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked Gen. 3:6-7.
The serpent told Adam and Eve that God didn’t want them to know good and evil like He did, because God didn’t want them to be like Him. So they took the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, believing it would give them this wisdom and make them like God. Yet, when they took it, the promise turned out to be fake! They weren’t filled with the wisdom of God’s mind, but of the serpent’s!
Over and over this cycle continues. We desire something, we take it, it ends up not being what it promised to be. So we seize another solution, and it ends up not being perfect, again.
All this “taking” has a name. It’s called self-sufficiency.
And self-sufficiency has one great casualty: need for God.
I CAN’T PRAY
Following on the heels of the doubt “What if God says ‘no’?” Is the feeling of “I can’t pray”.
Have you struggled with this? I have. A lot.
It’s not that I can’t utter words to God. But there’s this nagging scripture that comes to mind whenever I think of prayer…
…pray without ceasing… (1 Thess 5:17)
So, how good are you doing at that?
You following me now?
Why bring this up here, in this discussion of self-sufficiency?
As mentioned, the great casualty of “taking the bull by the horns” is need for God.
This doesn’t mean that we stop needing God when we live self-sufficiently. It means we stop being aware of how needy we are for Him.
Here’s the thing: God is the only one who can give us the real deal. The real provision for our desires. The real solution to our problems. He’s the only one who can give us real actual Life. When we live self-sufficient, we’re living counterfeit-life. All the things we apprehend on our own, they don’t compare to what God would give us if we asked Him.
But see, the counterfeit fools us. It looks real, acts real, sounds real, tastes real. So even though it doesn’t fully deliver, since it has the appearance of ‘real’, we don’t feel needy. We think we already have.
And this is why we don’t pray. It’s not that you and I can’t pray. It’s that you and I don’t perceive our ceaseless need for what’s real. We don’t see what we aren’t living from. We’re self-sufficient.
The original language Greek word for prayer breaks down to mean “wishing toward”. Interesting, huh?
Do you know that every time you point a heart-desire toward God you’re praying?
Do you remember the steps for trusting God I listed yesterday? They equal prayer. Check them out again:
1. We feel a need (often signaled by nervousness, stress, fear, worry, or anxiety)
2. Instead of mustering courage, determination, or grit, we shift the eyes of our mind to Jesus
3. We remember we’re in Jesus’ new humanity, the kingdom of God, and in Him God always tells us yes.
4. We move forward into our situation, fully expecting God to deliver what we need for that moment.
Of course prayer can also be words you pray audibly. But the essence of pray, wishing toward, is the conscious decision to trust God to supply the need of the hour. We deliberately don’t go into ourselves for the need, taking hold of whatever we perceive the solution is (courage, strength, smarts, humor, will-power, etc… ), but we aim that need or desire or wish toward God, trusting He loves us so much He’ll supply our need.
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matt. 6:31-33)
In other words, we seek His kingdom provision and His guidance (the root of the word ‘righteousness’), and we’ll have the high and great—the true—provision added to us.
At the end of the day, praying without ceasing is really a hyper-awareness of our need—and therefore our wishes—for God to fill every situation with His glory, while at the same time trusting that He surely will. And so, the purpose for praying without ceasing is to bring us to live from the Kingdom of God without ceasing. The greatest strides we’ll make toward the goal of praying without ceasing/living from the Kingdom of God, will be those we take in effort to live hyper-aware of our own insufficiency.
Today, dare to see the lie of self-suficiency. Dare to become highly and constantly needy for God. In every situation, small or great… pray without ceasing.
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