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Trust God, Not Man or Self-Effort

Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.

Jeremiah 17:5

Today I want to show you the difference between a blessed man and a cursed man. The Bible is amazingly clear on how you can be a cursed man and what a cursed life looks like. God’s Word also shows you a picture of a blessed man and how you can be that man.

Let’s start with how one can be a cursed man. Jeremiah 17:5 tells us that when a man “trusts in man” and not in the Lord, he becomes a cursed man.

A man who “makes flesh his strength” is also cursed. In this context, “flesh” can be paraphrased as “self-effort.” In other words, we can read verse five as “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes self-efforthis strength.”

My friend, there are essentially two ways to live this life. The first is for us to depend and trust entirely in the Lord’s unmerited favor, while the other is to depend on our efforts, and strive and struggle for success. We can never bring about good success that comes from God by depending on our self-efforts. No matter how we strive and struggle, we cannot work for our own righteousness or attain our own forgiveness. Any success that we may achieve is only partial success.

On the other hand, God’s kind of success is complete, whole, and permeates into every facet of our lives—spirit, soul and body. God’s Word says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22). God never gives us success at the expense of our marriage, families, or health. Like I always say to the business people in my church, don’t use all your health to chase after wealth, only to spend all your wealth later to get your health back!

Health and wholeness in your physical body are part of God’s blessings. If you are constantly under tremendous stress and have regular panic attacks because of the nature of your work, then I would encourage you to take a step back and seek the Lord’s counsel. Stress robs you of health, whereas good success from the Lord causes your youth to be renewed.

When you depend on your efforts, you can struggle for many years and get only a certain measure of success. But when you depend on God’s unmerited favor, you can experience accelerated blessings and promotion that years of striving and struggling can never achieve.

Look at the story of Joseph from Genesis 39. He was nothing but a lowly prisoner. Yet, within an hour of meeting Pharaoh, he was promoted to the highest office in the entire Egyptian empire. Beloved, even if you are down and out (like Joseph was) at this point in your life, the Lord can promote you supernaturally in an instant when you choose to put your eyes on Him!

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