Psalm 40:4-5

When I read these two verses in Eugene Peterson’s The Message, his admonition to turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,” ignore what the world worships resonates with me. I try to imagine what false God is indeed the world’s “sure thing,” the greatest lie the world tells us. Is it the alluring illusion of self-reliance? I sometimes wonder. 

Contemporary American culture leads us to believe that if we just achieve the right balance of hard work, health, and wealth, we can have it all. We can control our own destiny. This attractive, tempting, and occasionally believable idea is absolutely antithetical to the gospel.

Thanks be to God for the more excellent way. God’s way of living is empowered by the Holy Spirit and strengthened in the faith community. This way doesn’t assign God just one piece of our perfectly balanced, “having it all” pie. This way denotes God as the Source of our fulfillment rather than all those other illusions that promise that. This way requires us to surrender our self-reliance and fully recognize that we are not in control, nor do we have to be. By God’s grace through Jesus Christ, we can release that burden of control. This way of absolute trust in our Creator frees us to be grateful that this life is not ultimately up to us. May the “sure thing” we pursue always be the presence of God.


What area of your life are you trying to control that you need to surrender to God instead?


Holy God, free us from the constraints of self-reliance. Teach us to surrender ourselves to you daily, and allow that surrender to direct our paths. Amen.

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