Fifth Week of Lent | Benita Walker
Psalms 121, 122, 123
If the Lord protects and provides for you, why is self-preservation such a priority with you? People, to one degree or another, have a tendency to over-rely on self and under-rely on the Lord for self-preservation.
Consequently, wisdom dictates that we should not attempt to do more for ourselves than we ought. Of course, a healthy self-concept and self-esteem has its place. However, the Bible tells us “to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought” (Rom. 12:3).
Typically, during Lent people are tasked to surrender vices having to do with materialthings or simple pleasures. However, I want you to consider handing over a very serious intrapersonal matter to the Lord.
Let me offer you a few biblical prescriptions that can help you give-up your self-help tendency.
Like David, raise your eyes off self and onto someone transcendent, the Lord (v1). Jesus is able to help us move beyond our self-help tendencies to self-preserve and instead rest our needs, wants and desires in Him. Will you relax and immerse yourself in the truth of this claim?
Like David, prayerfully ask yourself where and how the Lord might help you to rely less on self and more on Him (v2). Interestingly, He’s the Maker of heaven and earth and, yet, we try to replace His role by manufacturing our own piece of heaven and earth. Where or how do you find yourself usurping His role as such in your life?
Like David, accept that unlike your Sacred-Helper your self-help is always just a step or a “slip” away from self-hurt (v3-4). Why? Because it can lead to the following behaviors: perfectionism, the need to please people and the desire for approval. Are you slipping away to this place or to a safe place—in Him?
Like David, own the reality that the Lord will always be nearer to you than you ever will be to yourself (v5). David reassures you that the Lord is “sheltered” right by your side. He also reassures you that the Lord does best at protecting you. The notion of self-protecting or self-preserving yourself is as unrealistic as you protecting the Lord.
This Lenten season will you accept the Lord’s desire or determination to be your great helper?
BENITA WALKER (AND ROOSEVELT)
Executive Assistant, Office of Spiritual Development