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Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust

June 13, 2015 | Zach Belton

"You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You."

 

-Psalm 16:2

 

I have officially arrived in Yellowstone and call a little cabin room with a view of pine trees my home. The lakeshore sits at over 7700 feet above sea level and the air is dry. There is little light pollution, the backdrop of mountains is gorgeous, and my pace of life has slowed to an enjoyable walk as opposed to the last four years of academic marathons.

 

I'm at another crossroads, though. This week begins our ministry in Grant Village, and with that come new challenges. The first is one of self reliance.

 

The first thing that I wrestled with wasn't settling in, it wasn't figuring out my schedule or learning procedures for work, it wasn't car trouble or being stuck in a bear jam somewhere in the park. It was feeling simultaneously unprepared and overconfident.

In this, the temptation is to be what I was taught as an engineer. I love solving problems, finding different solutions and deciding which is the best. The mind that God has granted me is something I prize and enjoy using, but using it in lieu of asking God for direction is like David taking a census to judge his ability to win battles instead of trusting that it was God who fought for the Israelites.

I mentioned in the last blog post the phrase "God save us from our good intentions," and I was hinting at this great problem we have. We think we are something without God. We think that salvation means being stood up on our own two feet, not that we were bought at a terrible price.

 

Self reliance is the first attack from the enemy that sneaks in behind our front lines because it is so simple and pseudo-logical. It sounds darn close to the truth, but again, it follows the same tactic that Satan used to tempt Adam and Eve:  distort God's words and use them to lead astray His sheep.

 

Should we attempt to work our own, rely on our own, and pursue our own, we will fail. We will have left the opportunities and relationships we are granted here abandoned on the roadside and lost.

 

Far be it from us, for all our "goodness is nothing apart from You."

"The most important thing that I learned this summer was to project the imago dei and to recognize it in others and embrace them for who they are."
– Brett, Princeton Theology Seminary 2011

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