Sunday, April 23, 2006

Interlude: When we don't need God (or think we don't)

Self-sufficiency -- when we don't feel a need for anything besides ourselves -- is as dangerous as pride: in many ways it is the same, only mild instead of brash. It is, in my opinion, the core of the post-Christian world in Europe. People have enough and do not feel need, their weaknesses do not trouble them or cause them to fear for their safety or that they or their children will starve.

Ether 12:27 "I give unto men weaknesses that they might be humble ... "

Alma 32:14 "do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?"

Ether 12:27 "if men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses." "if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong."

Alma 32:15 "he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed."

In our age it is easy to live our lives in contentment, finding things sufficient, without needing to humble ourselves. I look at my own life. Even in the midst of the worst of tragedies I experienced, my family always had food, a house, schools, neighbors and physical safety. Now, I'm making trade-offs where I take time over money (I could probably double my income, if I were willing to work more and see my family less). I have more than enough. That is one thing that struck me about Paris: many of the people there were content with a great deal less than we feel we need, they had found contentment, they were self-sufficient.

I may have more than enough, but that gives me a renewed force in my life, a concern that if I am not careful I will drift away. As a result, I find myself earnestly seeking to turn again to God. I need God, not for some thing, not for some help, not for some intercession, but I need God to be my God. I need God for God and as God -- but so do we all. So do we all.

With this aside, I'll be back to my series on prayer in the next post.


Anonymous said...

This post shows a mild contrast from your response to Anne's comment about dealing with not receiving the guidance we seek at times. A good many decisions will not bear heavily on our eternal destinies, and it is likely that, when we think that we are on the right path, we will hear quiet as a lack of need for correction.

It is hard to tell sometimes where exactly quiet confidence becomes quiet pride. How does one strike that balance between feeling a need to be "[commanded] in all things" and being "lulled away into carnal security"?

Stephen said...

You've caught the link: being lulled away into carnal security is that state of self-sufficiency when we think we don't need God.

But, we struggle, which is part of being mortal, with finding balance.