The Lie of “I”

By on March 18, 2019

There’s an insidious little lie making its way through our churches today. Like the train called “The Little Engine that Could,” this lie gains momentum every time someone shares it. This lie looks shiny and clean on the outside and can pull a heavy load behind it, as every good engine should. Because it is such an efficient workhorse, the lie is welcomed in almost every church by almost every leader.

Warning! The conductor of this train is not God, and being on board with this lie will stop your faith dead in its tracks!

What’s the name of this train? It’s The Lie of “I.”

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“If I see a problem, I’m called to fix it.”

“If I have the money, I have to give it.”

“If I know of a need, I must fill it.”

Or to put it in the words of the classic children’s storybook, “I think I can.”*

This Train Ain’t Bound for Glory!

Biblical faith doesn’t depend on what I can do, but on what God will do! In fact, when I begin to make I think I can the engine on my train, I miss encountering a greater power: I miss the move of God!

Leaders welcome the energy and drive “the lie of I” brings to church. What pastor turns down a responsible, driven worker who is willing to take on the harder tasks involved in mountain-moving? Even Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few! Any solid work ethic that gets church members off their pews and into the trenches is good, right?

Not exactly. Good intentions are notorious for leading us down the wrong tracks, and this lie isn’t bound for glory! It leads believers away from one of the most essential elements of Christianity: Prayer.

God Thinks He Can!

Prayer is where we receive direction for our lives. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Prayer is where we develop that faith in God’s way of doing things. We must know more than what we can do. We must know what HE is doing!

Draw the Circle author Mark Batterson writes, “God did not say You will build My church;’ He said, ‘I will build My church.’”** Jesus is the Builder of our faith and the Conductor of our train. We must receive God’s instructions in prayer, or we’ll be building the wrong way.

Jesus did not meet every need He found on earth, nor does He expect us to. He is not a slave driver or a harsh taskmaster. Workaholism has no place in the Promised Land OR the Kingdom of God!

Instead, God meets the needs of those who come to Him in faith, believing. He is more interested in healing people’s hearts than in solving all their problems. Why? Because He thinks that He can better meet the needs around us once He has met the need within us.

Our time with God in prayer strengthens and focuses us so that we do only what He calls us to. It leaves room for others to fill the gaps when there are more needs than we can meet on our own.

Following God’s lead keeps us from going off the rails and ending up broken and burnt out. In short, it allows God to be God and keeps us free from “the lie of I.”

I Must Decrease; He Must Increase

As I’ve learned to rely less on me and more on Christ in me, I have become a better Kingdom laborer. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, my heart now has room for compassion that leads to action. I have shed the burden of false responsibility and have renewed energy to function in my actual giftings and calling. I am investing my talents: time, money, and energy – at God’s direction, not man’s. Because of this, I see a greater return on all my investments.

Relying on a God who is able to do all things well keeps me from believing the lie that I can do anything apart from Him! It holds me firmly in the place of prayer. The extra strength I gain from spending that time with God allows me to be more effective in my church, not less so.

God isn’t worried about solving every problem and meeting every need. He’s more concerned about our leaving the station without Him. HE IS the solution to every problem and the answer to every need!

Let’s retire “The Lie of I” once and for all and replace it with this Bible truth: “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me!”

Pause and Reflect:

Take a few moments to read some the Scriptures mentioned in this article: John 15:4-8; Matthew 21:21; John 5:19-21; Matthew 16:18; Exodus 1:11; Mark 8:33; Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 4:13.

What is God saying to you about ‘The Lie of I?” Who is the conductor of your “train:” God – or self?

Consider beginning each day’s journey with a prayer that invites God to lead you into a place of rest and peace, far away from “The Lie of I.”

Deborah Perkins, Executive Director of HisInscriptions

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The Lie of “I”