If you were to ask me what my biggest character flaw is, my answer will always be “Pride”. People who know me well will all say that I’m not a very brash or loud person. My pride doesn’t manifest itself in public, it remains internal for a large majority of the time. I tend to try to handle everything myself, and I rely on my willpower more than I should. There are times its gotten me in a lot of trouble, and I’ve had to learn many hard lessons. It’s sobering to realize that many of bullets I’ve dodged over the years were fired by me.
One of the most dangerous things you can do is assume, either about yourself or others, both in positive and negative ways. If you assume you have no value and nothing to offer, you will almost always fulfill that prophecy. Assuming that someone isn’t worth your time or effort without giving them a chance may cause you to miss out on an opportunity or experience. Assuming “X will never happen to me” or “I would never do Y” is a slippery slope because not only are you counting on your fickle nature, you’re putting yourself in a position of superiority. This is a trap I’ve fallen into many times. I’ve seen people make terrible mistakes and suffer terrible consquences and instead of empathizing or trying to help in some way, I’ve been dismissive, or worse, judgemental. It’s something I’ve become very remorseful about as of late, because when I look back on my life, I’ve been a few circumstances away from being in worse places. None of us have a right to feel superior, because all of us are as flawed as the next person.
My biggest struggle in my Christian walk is daily dying to myself and giving control to God. Many times I haven’t and things turned out fine, thankfully to God’s grace. Other times, things have blown up in my face, hurting me and others in the process. In John 15:5, Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches. The point Jesus was making here was that he should be our resource, and if we don’t plug into that resource, we will wither and die. For years I always found that passage to be a nice thought, a comforting reminder to rely on God. But, I never really understood the gravity of the last part of that verse where he says, “…for apart from me you can do nothing.” Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. “Nothing” is a very strong word and I didn’t really take it seriously, and the seriousness of it has been something God has been revealing more and more to me.
Don’t assume you can handle most things without God, even thought you may get by for a while. I promise it won’t last, because the attitude assuming creates only sets you up for a harsh lesson in the future. While you may read this and think, “Wow, God sounds like he doesn’t care about me at all,” this is far from the the truth. For God to say “apart from me you can do nothing” isn’t his way of taunting us or rubbing our noses in our inadequacies, it is instead of gentle reminder saying, “You can’t and shouldn’t do this alone. Let me guide you and help you.” Our God is a loving God, and when we assume he’s the number one threat to our happiness, we assume wrong. Take him at his word and rely on him in all things, every day. This is something I’ve been learning and continue to learn and relearn every day, and how great of a thing it is to have a God that loves us enough to offer infinite chances.