The human goal of fulfilling ourselves demands that our efforts to do so are invested in that which we can achieve; but anything that we can achieve is not enough to satisfy our souls.
The Christian believes their fulfilment is not based on what we achieved, but on who has come to dwell within us.
From Rebecca Reynolds:
Almost every day we are told to believe in ourselves, to follow our hearts, to trust our gut, to do what feels good. Most of the movies we watch, most of thecommercials we see, most of the self—help advice that we are given relies upon this ethic. What’s the underlying drive here? While physical pleasure might seem like the big allure, there’s in fact a pull stronger than hedonism at play. The more intoxicating promise is safety — safety that we can guarantee without having to trust anybody else.
I get the appeal of this promise. At several points in my life, I have been so disappointed with the church, with my relationships, and even with my faith, that I have wanted to hide inside myself forever. Yet, this has never worked because an insular body of water grows stagnant. Disappointment becomes bitterness; bitterness becomes cynicism; and cynicism is the booby prize of a fallen world a sad, small bounty.
Examine the “believe in yourself” doctrine closely, and you will find Eve longing for a forbidden piece of fruit — not because one pear can ever be as lush as an entire garden, but because one pear is tiny enough to clutch in the palm of one small hand. This single pear represents all self—trust, an eternal folding inward, an eternal reduction.
What does a rejection of self-belief look like? Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that we must embrace the “I am a worm” mentality that pervades too many pockets of Christianity. Our identity is changed when we receive Christ, and once we are a new creation, indwelt by the Spirit, it’s not healthy to buy into ugly lies that hold us back. A Christian’s conﬁdence doesn’t reside in “I’m great” but in “Greatness lives in me.” We don’t withdraw trust but transfer it to what is trustworthy. Theological grounding in our new nature helps skepticism die because it rescues us from the double dangers of stagnant self-confidence and paralyzing insecurity.Rebecca K. Reynolds, Courage, Dear Heart, Navpress, 2018, pgs 116-117.