“The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose heart are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
One of the pitfalls of any leadership position is prideful self-reliance.
By that I mean, we cease relying on the wisdom, guidance, and strength from the Lord and arrogantly try to handle things on our own.
After all, who needs God when we can run things just fine without Him?
This, of course, is a dangerous way to think. But we usually don’t start thinking like this overnight. Self-reliance often creeps into our lives so slowly, so subtly, that we don’t even notice.
Case in point – King Asa. (Read his story in 2 Chronicles 14-16.)
Asa was responsible for leading the southern kingdom of Judah through a turbulent time in its history. On the whole, he is remembered as a king whose “heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life” (2 Chronicles 15:17).
But toward the end of his reign, he stepped into the pitfall of prideful self-reliance.
Facing war with the northern kingdom of Israel, Asa decided to rely on “the king of Aram and not on the Lord” (2 Chronicles 16:7). The prophet, Hanai, boldly confronts Asa’s choice telling him, “he has done a foolish thing” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
And then, in today’s key verse, Hanai clarifies exactly what God is looking for: The Lord scours the earth for people whose hearts fully rely on Him.
Right now, the Lord isn’t searching for the most attractive, most intelligent, or most talented among us, as if He’s selecting a spiritual all-star team. (This is good news for regular folks like me.)
What the Lord is looking for is a heart that loves Him, is surrendered to His will and is passionate about His purposes. He’s looking for people who remain humbly aware of their constant need for Him and seek His face in all situations.
He’s looking for men and women who resist their natural inclination towards self-reliance and choose God-reliance instead.
And when the Lord finds these types of individuals, He is eager to shower them with His strength and enable them to do His work in the world.
Blinded by self-reliance, King Asa missed an opportunity to see God’s strength and power on display.
And if it can happen to Asa, it can happen to us too. His life serves as a warning that we must vigilantly guard our hearts against self-reliance until the day we die.
Just because we relied on the Lord ten days ago, doesn’t ensure that we’ll rely on Him today, much less ten days from now.
As C.S. Lewis reminds us, “relying on God has to begin all over again every day, as if nothing had yet been done.”
But, this side of heaven, our hearts don’t perfectly follow Lewis’ wisdom, do they?
The good news is that where King Asa failed, King Jesus succeeded. He is the only One whose heart was perfectly committed to His Father.
Obviously, we can’t BE Jesus, but we can strive to be LIKE Him in our love and dependence on the Father.
What about you? Do you want the eyes of the Lord to find you drifting towards self-reliance?
I know I don’t.
Let’s profess our utter dependence on Him today and every day.
In fact, let’s do it right now:
“Father, you know my needs better than I know them myself. Please help me have a heart that is totally surrendered and dependent on You every hour of every day. Help me to seek Your face in everything I do. I ask this in the holy and powerful name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.”
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH