2 Corinthians 3:4-6 – “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” NKJV
I had someone recently tell me that they were a ‘self-made person’ and I could not help but snicker a bit. The quizzical look on their face quickly turned to irritation as I delayed any comment. The individual huffed, “Well, I guess you think I’m not!” Actually, I do think you are not ‘self-made’ although that is a popular characterization of someone who has built a business from the ground floor and made it successful or accomplished many things in life. I simply base my opinion on the following:
- We Are Created Beings.
Therefore, in the strictest sense (not what is usually being referred to) we are not self-made we are God-made.
- We Are Not Self-Sufficient.
The Bible makes it clear that all the talents, gifts, abilities and even the breath we breathe is from God. Oh, I acknowledge that we may have honed and developed those abilities but they came from God as did the breath we breathe.
Paul makes it clear that our sufficiency is from God and that we should not think of anything as being ‘self-made’. We become ‘sufficient’ in what we do and can even ‘excel’ but the origination was from God not self. The idea of being ‘self-made’ is often accompanied by unhealthy pride and detracts from our appreciation of what we have been given and true recognition of the source of our accomplishment.
We cannot save ourselves, did not create ourselves, and cannot add inches to our height. If we were self-made we could do all those things but we cannot. I know some will accuse me of splitting hairs and making much ado about nothing declaring, “Well, that is not what I’m talking about.” Isn’t it? Are we declaring ourselves to be the creator and originator when we declare ourselves ‘self-made’? Are we not, in a very real sense, declaring that God’s work was insufficient and inadequate when we describe ourselves as ‘self-made’?
When I realize that even the various members of my body were identified by God before my conception I should be humbled. When I realize that only as long as God’s finger is on the keys of the organ of life do I live, I should be humbled. When I realize that God sets up kings and takes them down, I should be humbled. To have the audacity to declare myself ‘self-made’ is to display an arrogance that places me equal to or elevated above my Creator and I do not wish to travel that road.
I understand that to declare oneself or another as ‘self-made’ is meant to complement their work ethic, ingenuity, enterprise, perseverance and willingness to risk and all those are good. However, to fail to note that God gave us the ability and breath is to ascribe to a position and condition that places one in competition with God and He shares His glory with no person.
Instead of proclaiming ‘I am self-made’ proclaim ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I live, move and have my being in Him.’ Acknowledge His contribution and then I will gladly acknowledge your efforts, commitment and perseverance. I will praise you for your part but only if you give God glory for His.
God bless you as you go through your day!