Self Reliance or Divine Reliance?


“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,”   John 15:5.

The well-known philosopher and thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote about many things, with one of them being about the topic of self-reliance.

In this writing, he mentions how most people look to the thoughts and writings of great men and women, rather than believing or trusting, in their own thoughts and genius.
He says,

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.  Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events.  Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.  And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.
 Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.  He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.  Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”  Essays: First Series – Self-Reliance (1841)

While it is true that each of us has been given our own unique place in this world, we ultimately should know that our gifts and talents don’t naturally “spring forth” from our own selves, but they have been planted there as a divine gift from above.

I relish the notion of being a non-conformist, perhaps even more rightly said, I am not a follower of how society would tell me how to live and work; and that in itself is probably quite unorthodox.

Perhaps many of us are like this. I would rather take the road less traveled, and to blaze a trail my own way.

And while learning to become more “self-reliant,” I see the value in taking on tasks and discovering how a certain job or skill can be accomplished on my own.  I believe that most of us want to learn how to become more independent in this world, so that we aren’t dependent upon others.

However, the bride of Christ is made up of many members and each of us has a place within that body.  No one is an island unto himself.  We are all hubs of a wheel whose spokes emanate from the center.  One when of us suffers, we all suffer.

And yet there is still a great value in learning how to become more independent and to realize the gifts and abilities that one has so that they can live in a state of preparedness and wisdom, especially in these dark days that we are now living in.

But even with the wisdom that can found in the writings of Emerson and others, one must ultimately discover that we cannot do all, nor be all unto ourselves.

We are told that “we can do all things,” but that is only “through Christ who strengthens me.”

Ultimately, we are nothing apart from him. When one finally finds the end of themselves, they realize how dependent we actually are upon Him.  Then self-reliance becomes God-reliance.


~ Stephen Hanson

Prophet Stephen HansonStephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since.  In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God.  Will we be prepared and ready?

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