As I observe the world around me, I am coming to the conclusion that busyness is one of the most wide-spread and damaging diseases of our day. Not only does it rob people of physical, mental, and emotional health, I see it fragmenting relationships and separating us from God. In our frantic attempts to live life to the “fullest” I fear we are missing out on what it means to be truly alive.
Nor do I think this is accidental or coincidental.
In looking at what motivates our break-neck pace of life, it seems that we have deeply internalized three insidious lies put forth by the Deceiver, working hand-in-hand with our cultures and our own fallen nature.
the God Complex
The first lie comes straight from the core of the Evil One’s heart; “I will ascend into heaven… I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14: 13, 14) Whether we realize it or not, most of us carry a god complex and run ourselves ragged trying to take His place.
I have so often heard well-meaning people say, “I can’t possibly stop. This [ministry, job, person, etc.] needs me.” “If I don’t do it no one else will…” Change the words as you will, the central idea is the same: “It all depends on me. I am essential.”
I have even heard this inflated idea of our individual importance perpetuated by well-meaning evangelical speakers, “You are His hands and feet; God can’t touch the world without you,” and carried to the extreme: “If you don’t share Christ, you might be responsible for sending someone to hell.”
No, no and no.
I absolutely believe we should live, breathe, and demonstrate the gospel every moment of our lives. But I reject the idea that I have the ability to send someone to hell, nor can I save anyone. It is beyond my power. But if God has chosen someone, nothing I do (or don’t do) can thwart His purposes.
And when it comes to doing His work on earth, if I am essential to a project or ministry for its survival, there’s a good chance it is my work, not His; my vision, not His. Because if it is His work, He can handle it very well without me. To think God’s plan would fall apart without my involvement is mind-blowing self-aggrandizement.
In her book Sabbath Keeping, Lynne M. Baab writes, “…even though God has created us to be his partners in sustaining the universe, he is fully capable of bringing about his purposes without us. We are creatures, completely dependent on the one who created us and sustains us. God alone is in control, and God alone upholds the universe.” (p. 28)
Whether in ministry or in daily life, our efforts to manage or control our personal worlds is to step into a role reserved for God alone. Our fumbling attempts to “keep it together” are self-deception at best, and at worst, a blatant rejection of the fact that “in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17)
We also equate ourselves to Him when we try to live as if we have no limits. We are finite. We must eat. We must sleep. We cannot be in two places at once, no matter how frantically we multitask. We can’t have it all; to choose one thing necessarily closes the door on other things. Our knowledge of the big picture is woefully incomplete, even with the amazing resources available to us today. To deny these God-given boundaries is to reject our humanity and claim something that belongs to God alone.
While most of us would never actually boast of possessing omniscience, omnipotence or omnipresence, when we live on a practical level as if we are central to the grand scheme of things, we elevate ourselves to the level of the Most High and challenge His rightful place.
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The two other lies that keep us busy will be unfolded in later blog posts.