A popular notion is that "God" is something we find within ourselves, a mixture of peace that comes from self-acceptance and strength drawn from self-esteem. There is a grain of truth in this, for if we don't love ourselves we won't have peace and it will be very difficult for us to love others. Yet is loving ourselves and believing in ourselves enough to give us lasting contentment and the strength to face all of life?
No one is perfect or entirely self-sufficient. Believing that something inside us will be sufficient to meet our needs can easily result in our not seeking outside help when it's needed. We can deceive ourselves by striving so hard to accept ourselves that we ignore our failures and weaknesses and ultimately become ignorant of ourselves. What if we face a difficult crisis and don't find the inner resources to cope with it? We are left doubting ourselves, with nowhere to turn for help.
In a society that values tolerance and multiculturalism, saying that God is something inside each person sounds like wisdom, but in fact it's the opposite: it leads to ignorance of oneself and prevents people from looking for and finding the true hope and aid which a loving, capable God can give them.
In reality, millions of people have experienced severe depression, mental or physical illness, addictions, physical and/or sexual abuse, and other life crises and found that there wasn't anything inside themselves which could fully overcome these problems. Many of these people turned to God for help, and found that he was able to do what they and everyone else could not: give them lasting hope and even joy in the midst of their circumstances. (You can watch some of these stories at Life Story.)
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Php 4:12-13)