The Greatest Success Possible: Self-actualization. Self determination. Hard work. Achievement. Success. A pleased God. Reward.
I was on a church retreat recently that spoke on Jeremiah 2. During a quiet moment with the Lord, surrounded in a world of self-actualization and self-determination, a sudden hard truth impressed me. Regardless of your primary purpose or calling or destiny in this life, you’re actually incapable of doing it. Doesn’t matter what it is, you are incapable of performing the one thing you are created to do by design.
Despite your most intense focus, intention, and effort, you cannot glorify God. By your own efforts, you cannot please Him. Think about that and let it sink in. How could a finite and defective being, even one that’s been redeemed by Christ, ever please an infinite and perfect one? (Isaiah 64:6) By your own efforts, you cannot stop sinning. You cannot add one day to your life. And you cannot achieve anything at all truly great. You simply lack the capability to do so on your own.
We may immediately think of some superstar celebrity names that achieved greatness. Well greatness by our standards. Truly I tell you if they did it on their own then whatever they achieved was far less than what God designed them to be. They failed. Funny, the one thing we all were ultimately created for: to glorify God, is actually the one thing we are most incapable of doing.
Depressed? It may seem sad, but it’s by design.
“My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water. They have been for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13
The harder you try to make yourself under your own power a usable cistern, the more useless you become to God. Even when grace saves you under Jesus, if you continue to power forward under your own might, you’ll fail to please Him.
Only God can glorify Himself. Only infinite and eternal can satisfy infinite and eternal.
So the only way you can please God, your actual ultimate destiny regardless of what your calling may be, is to be as humble as possible. Be honest with your inner core of your condition of a being as useful as a broken cistern, sinful and useless under your own strength.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart O God.” – Psalm 51:17
It is through humbly becoming as much of a shell and clearing out your own determination, drive, and passions that God can finally fill Himself in you as a usable vessel. This is in stark contrast to our current culture’s understanding. It’s by breaking yourself down into a limp puppet that God can finally attach His strings. He brings you to true animated life. Then and only then when you have “self-actualized” yourself to what you really are (nothing) and have identified your greatest capability (completely incapable) is when God can finally assume control. He uses you for your real destiny. This will now be 100% by His hand alone and not one iota of your humanity.
Related Post: The Greatness of Humility
Logically, the only thing we humans are ever in control of, is the first step: removing our pride. We were never in control and capable of anything. Under God’s rule and measurement of true success, our own power and strength exists for the sole purpose of removing our own power and strength. We are to make room for *His* power and strength. Hence, the greatest thing we could ever actually “do” for God is to “undo” ourselves.
While keeping the greatest success possible for the Kingdom of God in mind, what are some practical things we can do to walk in humility?