This morning’s devotion comes from John Zahl who, as a matter of fact, has a book of sermons coming out next month, called Sermons of Grace. One of these sermons will be featured in the Fall Issue of the magazine.

To the church of God in Corinth… together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2, NIV)

When I lived in New York City, my roommate and I often found ourselves walking from one place to another at night. Coincidentally, it seemed like every time we did this, a random streetlight would suddenly burn out. This happened so many times to my friend that we both began to think he possessed some special power over the street lamps of New York City.

Obviously this was a delusion, but it is not unlike the way many of us try to live our lives, as though we are in control of the events that happen to us, reading our agency and influence into situations when they aren’t necessarily there. We live as though we are our own saviors, as though the only way that we can find help in the midst of difficulties is to try harder, dig deeper, and rely more upon our own efforts. It is a terrible, and exhausting way to move through the world, and rather than solving problems, the self-as-savior approach to life actually creates problems, encourages self-centeredness, and thereby brings about friction between us and our fellows.

Alternatively, Christians “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”—we ask God to be our Savior, and we turn our lives and difficulties over to Him, that we might experience the relief that comes when we no longer have to be our own savior. The Christian faith is generated largely by the failed project that the world calls self-reliance. How nice it is that we can be honest about our own limitations, wherein we find the One who has none!