Trying to be independent and self-sufficient seems to be the standard mode of operation for a large portion of humanity. As a group, we tend to admire those who can fend for themselves. Their strength to provide for their own needs and rise in the ranks of society, science, or commerce gives them a place of prominence in our collective consciousness. We, after all, love a winner.
However, there is a danger in being such an individual. Though they have been blessed with temporal strength they still suffer from the pangs of original sin just like the rest of us. They do have a substantial amount of common grace, but this is no indication that God’s redemptive work has freed them from the power of sin and Satan. Without that, there is not really much good to the fact that they can be self sufficient in terms of temporal things.
In fact, Jesus clearly mentions the difficulty that those blessed with material and social status face in Matthew 19:24 when he says, “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Apparently, God does not judge men the same way that we do. He looks to the heart, judging its thoughts and intentions (Hebrews 4:12). This reasoning chose the boy David over the tall, handsome and self-sufficient Saul. David became king because he knew that he needed God.
The scriptures are clear; man is in desperate need of God. The epistle to the church at Ephesus written by the apostle Paul makes this clear. He writes that we are dead in our sin and he uses this analogy very purposefully. He wants his readers to ponder the question, “What can a dead person do?” The answer is obviously nothing. He is completely incapable of any action. In fact, the only thing that he appears to be doing (i.e decomposing) is not really his action but a byproduct of his death.
The only hope for a dead man to no longer be dead is to become alive again. This again is completely outside his power because he is dead! But this is where the Paul shows us just how much we need God. He writes in Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.”
God is the only person who can give us real, lasting, and eternal life. We need God, and more specifically the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, very badly.
When man rejects his need for God, he is acting as though God is not the way that he is. This dishonors God and he acts on our behalf to teach us our need for him. One of the ways that he does this is by letting mankind feel the effects of their rebellion. Romans 1 teaches us that when we reject the righteousness of God we are given over to the sins that we commit and they eat away at us. It seems as though God does this that we might recognize our plight, repent, and sin no longer (1 Timothy 1:20).
God will also bring judgment upon those who do not do so. Habakkuk 1:11 teaches that, “… they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god.” When we abandon Christ as our means of life and rest upon our own strength in this life and for the next it is crystal clear what will happen to us – we will still be as dead as the day we were born.