There really is something profoundly un-biblical about the oft repeated motto Believe in yourself. Generally, of course, it is mere sloganizing in sports with the intention of urging young athletes to be their best and produce fruits. Yet the language strikes me as highly Pelagian. In fact, when you hear statements like this ask yourself the question: Would Pelagius agree?
The reason this language is so common is because our culture has been delighted to exorcise itself from biblical paradigms. For instance, the beatitudes are commonly quoted everywhere, but it is always covered with a paradigm quite foreign to that of the kingdom of heaven. It becomes individualized; ultimately, it becomes a believe-in-yourself guide. In reality, the beatitudes are the divine instructions to an honored community. The biblical, beatific community does not believe in self nor does it rely on its own strength. She is quite peaceful and meek about the overwhelming strength brought by Another. She is poor in spirit which reflects her utter dependence on Yahweh in the flesh. Self believers contradict their existence. No wonder G.K. Chesterton wrote that “The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.”