The Splinters of Self-Sufficiency

Jon Burgess

I, yes I, am theLord,
and there is no other Savior.
Isaiah 43:11

Every wonder why God has to repeat so often in scripture that He alone is Savior? We forget quickly and often that there is only one who saves. We get this savior complex that we can save others or save ourselves by our own hands. Not sure this is accurate? The prophet Isaiah spends the majority of chapter 44 pointing out how ludicrous it is that we think something made by our own hands can save us from circumstances outside of our own control. Rather then raising our hands in surrender we have splinters from crafting our own salvation.

The person who made the idol never stops to reflect,
“Why, it’s just a block of wood!
I burned half of it for heat
and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat.
How can the rest of it be a god?
Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”
Isaiah 44:19
All who worship idols will be disgraced
along with all these craftsmen—mere humans—
who claim they can make a god.
They may all stand together,
but they will stand in terror and shame.
Isaiah 44:11

Majority agreement doesn't make it true. Just because there are many around us who tout the gospel of self sufficiency it doesn't mean it's accurate. We live in a culture that loves to quote the mantra of our own salvation. We live out the false-truth of the Self-Savior Syndrome. We love quoting William Erenest Henley's poem: "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul." We love singing Frank Sinatra's song: "Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew when I bit off more than I could chew but through it all when there was doubt I ate it up and spit it out I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way." You see the Self-Savior Syndrome in all of our movies. When a meteor is going to destroy earth it's up to Bruce Willis and his oil rig team to save us all in the movie Armageddon. I'll admit that when Bruce Willis looks his guys in the eyes and says, "None of you have to go. We can all just sit here on Earth, wait for this big rock to crash into it, kill everything and everybody we know. United States government just asked us to save the world. Anybody wanna say no?", I'm jumping up in my seat to go with them. I want to save the world. That's a good thing. That's the heart of our God. The only problem is, that position has already been filled. There's no vacancy for the job of Savior. There's no one else in fact who could ever meet that requirements of that job description. Yet, even as a Christian and minister I find myself joining the ranks of Henley, Sinatra & Willis in trying to be the Savior to myself, my family, my church and the world around me. No wonder I'm worn out. I can't do it, becaus Jesus already did it! I can't do it my way, because it's His way that saved us all on the Cross. I'm not the master of my fate because I can't see around the corner of the next minute while God holds the beginning and the end in His hands. Whenever I'm trying to save myself from my circumstances I'm just as foolish as the the people of Israel who held their so-called-salvation in their hands through what they carved from wood. My modern day sensibilities scoff at such a notion, but is it really so different when I try to solve my own problems without going to God first? When I try to craft a message that will clearly communicate the gospel to the church is my confidence placed on my oratory skills rather then the moving of the Spirit? When I talk to my boys about temptations and challenges they are facing do I trust them in the hands of my Savior or do I try to save them myself through control? When God wants to do a miracle healing do I rush to medicine first before prayer? These are just a few examples of why I too have splinters in my hands from crafting wooden idols of self sufficiency. God is calling me back to the restful spirit of one that trusts the Savior of the world with every situation I face- small or meteor sized!


What a weight that is lifted from my shoulders when I let You do your job and I do mine. I can't save anyone but I can point them to You. I can't save myself but I sure can surrender everything I hold in to Your nail scarred hands. You haven't called me to save the world but you have called me to serve them. When I do what I'm gifted to do I get a front row seat to what only You can do! I'm throwing the self-savior syndrome into the fire. I'm lifting my hands in surrender so you can remove the splinters of self-sufficiency. I'm putting my confidence for the future back in the safest place possible- the hands of my Savior:

10God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.11Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Devotions for July 25

Isaiah 43,44,45
1 Peter 4

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