One of the big differences between God and ourselves is that he is self-sufficient, having no need of anything outside of himself (Acts 17:24f), whereas we have a deep need both of God and of one another (on this latter point, see 1 Cor 12:21).
Jen Wilkin asks:
- Prayerlessness. Our self-reliance causes us to cease approaching God with petition, praise, confession, or thanksgiving. Because we credit ourselves as the ultimate provider, we cease conversation with our true provider.
- Forgetfulness. Like Israel in the Old Testament, we forget the past undeniable provision of God. Like Israel, we trust our current and future needs to the idol of self, which we have adopted from the surrounding culture.
- Anger in trial. When difficulties force us to come face-to-face with our limits, we feel anger at our exposed need. We are unable to count our trials as joy (James 1:2), seeing them as a verdict on our weakness instead of an opportunity to learn reliance on God.
- Lack of conviction of personal sin. We grow increasingly unable to acknowledge our personal need for forgiveness. When we hear a sermon or read a passage of Scripture, we hear it as a general admonition instead of a personal one.
When we deny our need for other believers, self-sufficiency reveals itself in the following ways:
- Avoidance of Christian community. Because we neither want nor believe we need help, we make no place in our lives for developing deep, authentic relationships with other believers.
- Concealment. When we must interact with other believers, we conceal the true state of our lives to preserve our autonomy.
- Lack of accountability. Believing our own lie that “we’ve got this,” we grow increasingly unwilling to ask for or receive wisdom or correction from another believer. When we receive unsolicited feedback about our sin, we reject it.
- Lack of humility. Our growing self-reliance yields us increasingly unable to ask for or receive help from others, even when our need is obvious. When we receive unsolicited help, we feel embarrassment and even resentment.
- Exhaustion. Refusing to ask for or accept help, we overextend our limited physical and emotional resources, existing in a constant state of anxiety and weariness.
None Like Him, Crossway, 2016