“The most important consequence of self-sufficiency is freedom. Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth.” – Epicurus
“Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient.” – Aristotle
“Self-sufficiency leads to empowerment.” – Meenakshi Kapoor
We live in a world that admires individuals who are beholden to no one. To have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, and how you want seems like a dream come true.
To rise to such a level of autonomy and independence requires financial resources that only a few of us have nowadays. You may be one of the fortunate – seemingly untouched by any outside issue that frequently suppresses and burdens the average person.
You have that paid off home that just keeps increasing in value. Rising food, gasoline, and housing costs don’t even register with you as a concern. You travel any place your heart desires, eat whatever you want whenever you want, and are blessed with the ability to proactively take care of your health because the high cost of medical care isn’t an issue for you. You aren’t bound by an employer or job so your time is your own – free to pursue your passions and the vast pleasure you receive by living your dream life.
Don’t we all want to live like this? And when we don’t, we feel worthless, underprivileged, and deprived. Some of us (myself included) worked hard our entire life to attain such self-sufficiency only to fall short.
But is self-sufficiency really all its cracked up to be? Is it something we should all be striving to attain or is it filled with unrealistic claims and false pretenses? Is there an underlying deception or an unseen snare that lurks around independence? Do Aristotle and Epicurus have it all wrong?
Self-Sufficiency is in Opposition to Life’s Purpose
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 NIV
“We are the clay, and You our Potter. All of us are the work of Your Hand.” – Isaiah 64:8 NASB
“To be self-sufficient is to be God deficient.” – Greg Sukert
Is it really the goal of God and the deeper purposes behind our lives to become self-sufficient? Are we here in this world to strictly rely on ourselves?
I believe the deeper, more profound meaning of our existence is to learn that God is the Source of all things and that our sheer existence relies solely on Him.
Think about it. We can be extremely self-sufficient in every earthly aspect, but do we create the air we need to breath or sustain our own heartbeat? Is our health strictly dictated by our own actions? Are we responsible for the wealth behind our self-sufficiency?
“Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who give you the ability to produce wealth.” – Deuteronomy 8:18
My friend, we are not here to go it on our own or to be independent from God and others. We are not the Potter nor the Vine! In fact, our very lives are created and sustained by God Himself, so self-sufficiency is truly a fallacy – a deception that leads us away from God and our predestined purpose.
Self-Sufficiency Leads to Pride and Pride to Demise
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18 NIV
“In his pride, the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” – Psalm 10:4 NIV
There was a time in my life I believed with all my heart that I WAS RESPONSIBLE for my success. I believed that my choices and my hard work drove my destiny. I had pity on others who were less fortunate – thinking they just didn’t have the drive, intelligence, and determination I had to see my goals come to fruition. My pride indeed went before my destruction!
Self-sufficiency deceives us into pridefully believing we are in control of our destiny – that we alone create our circumstances and determine the outcome.
“Then he told them a story: A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” – Jesus telling a parable in Luke 12: 16-21 NLT
Like the Kapoor quote states above, self-sufficiency leads to a prideful type of empowerment – a belief that we are the source of all we acquire or attain. Like the rich man in the parable above, we begin to make decisions independent of God and others. “I’ll tear down MY barns. I’ll have room enough to store all MY wheat. I’ll sit back and say to MYSELF, YOU have enough stored away for years to come!”
Have you become prideful in the midst of your self-sufficiency? Can you see the grave deception that can occur?
“We see ourselves as self-sufficient, self-important, and self-sustaining. God sees us as dependent, self-centered, and self-deceived.” – Billy Graham
Self-Sufficiency Diminishes God’s Power in Your Life
“My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we believe we have everything under control, when we bask in our own self-sufficiency, we move away from God and His power within our circumstances.
Let me tell you my friend, we can do this in the most innocent of ways!
Recently I have been determined to figure out the right course for my life – to come up with a plan that will improve my circumstances and push me down the road toward all my dreams and desires. There is so much pressure to come up with all the right answers, make all the right decisions, and do so all in the right timing! When you don’t have all the resources, you begin to think of ways that you might create them on your own.
When we think like this, we are limited to our own power and strength. When we begin to realize how limited and powerless we are, we open the door to God’s grace which is perfected in our weakness!
“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6 NKJV
“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 NLT
So my friend, if you find yourself in a position of self-sufficiency right now, fully capable of realizing your dreams and firmly in control of your life, I hope you take caution by seeing the self-deception that can easily surface as a result. I pray that you continually remind yourself who is truly the Source of all things – praising God for your abundance and humbly using it to fulfill His purposes for your life and the lives of those you touch.
If your life finds you in a place of lack and need, far from the freedoms and independence that come with self-sufficiency, I pray that you stop leaning on your own ability to create it and start leaning on God’s grace which is all sufficient! Your current weakness creates an opening for God’s great power to work in your life – a power that is perfected in humility, disadvantage, and limitation.
May each of us, no matter what our circumstances or where we find ourselves right now, see the deception behind self-sufficiency – clinging to and seeking a God who is at the very center of all we will ever have and all we will ever do.
May our lives be filled with His purposes and plans for us! God bless 😊
“The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.” – Billy Graham