I wonder how much the "American Dream" has messed up American Christianity. That kind of thinking, at least. We seek to "stand on your own two feet", to "live the dream", to "do it my way." We think that if we imagine and believe and work and persevere we can get almost anything we want ... and that's a good thing.
Paul said, "I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13) Not "on my own". He told the Philippians "It is God who is at work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure." (Phil 2:13) Not you. Proverbs says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." (Prov 3:5) Not "in yourself" and not your own understanding.
James tells us that our friendship with the world is hostility toward God -- spiritual adultery (James 4:4). He goes on to say, "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us." (James 4:5) Now, think about that one. Here we are, intending to "make it on our own", to "be my own person", to tough it through, and Christ has given us His Spirit ... to dwell in us. What are we doing?? Why do we settle for so little? He gives us so much and all we want to do is use our own broken, misguided, deceitful, sinful resources. What's wrong with us?
But we do it. And we applaud those who do. The church that adopts more entertaining, more popular, more up-to-date, more worldly-marketing style worship and programs is a success. The church that leans on Christ and His power is "on the wrong side of history". We American Christians in particular buy the comfort and luxury of our culture over the "go into all the world and make disciples" command of Christ. We salve our consciences with, "That's someone else's job."
There is a story in 2nd Kings when the Arameans were besieging Dothan. People were starving to death. But Elisha promised that food would come the next day (2 Kings 6:8-7:2). As it turned out, four lepers outside the gates decided to give themselves up to the enemy, so they went out to surrender. God made the sound of those four to sound like an army to the Arameans and they ran for their lives. The four lepers found a deserted camp filled with food and riches (2 Kings 7:3-8). There they were, indulging in rich food, rich clothes, rich riches, and one of them thinks of the people starving in the city and says, "We do not well." (2 Kings 7:9) Brothers and sisters, we do not well. People in our own backyards and around the world are dying without Christ. We have come across incalculable riches -- the very resources and power of God -- that we did not provide but are now ours. And we're just playing with them instead of sharing them.
Self-sufficient? It doesn't actually exist. "In Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Col 1:17) Self-sufficient? Why, when we have Christ?
If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)