People today take
great pride in self-sufficiency. We work long and hard to reach
certain goals. The list of people who we are prepared to
acknowledge as having helped us along the way in life is often
too short. Our culture often backs up the self-motivated
mindset. We hear of "self-made" individuals in business. We watch
extremely talented sports or entertainment personalities who
believe that the secret to their success is within
themselves; We hate the thought of being dependent on another
human being for just about anything and dread the day when
illness may make dependency on another person a necessity. Often
even people with generous hearts, who go out of the way to help
others in need, chafe at the thought of being in need
Christians acknowledge the need for salvation and the forgiveness from their sin from God, but they often stop there. Our nature wants to retain that mindset of being able to handle anything that comes along ourselves. Only when we find ourselves in over our head do we then cry out to God for rescuing. And amazingly He does, over and over again.
But what if we were forced to take a really honest look at our seemingly independent selves? What if we discovered that we were utterly dependent on another, that our successes hinged on another, that our utter survival hinged on another? In fact, people have always been dependent on other people and other things, on several levels. We of course don't like to admit our need, but lets face the facts:
We depended on our parents to raise us into adulthood.
We depended on teachers and other educators to teach us skills needed for the workforce or our careers.
We depend on spouses to provide intimacy and companionship on a long-term scale.
We depend on co-workers and friends to help us in a variety of situations.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we also depend on the graces of God. He created the world we live in, He gave us the air to breathe, the intelligence to do the things we do, the people in our lives that we need. He gave us the cross to take the penalty of death for us, and He gave us the possibility of a relationship on a level more intimate than any other.
Scripture shows us over and over how recognizing our desperate need for God is actually a wonderful revelation. Only by giving up the misconception of a life only dependent on ourselves can we realize true success, true growth and true freedom in any and every situation (interestingly, this is the very opposite to what this world likes to tell us).
James 4:10, 14-15
When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor; How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog-it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that."
So now, come back to your God! Act on the principles of love and justice, and always live in confident dependence on your God.
When the wicked die, their hopes all perish, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
Isaiah 50: 10
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.
2 Cor. 1:9
In fact, we all expect to die, but people without God just like to shut this out. But when we learn not to rely on ourselves but on God who can raise the dead, we find special strength and comfort.
Why is relying totally on God the best way to go in life?
Because as James has said, we do not know what tomorrow holds, we don't even know what will happen in the next five seconds. But God does. God - who isn't chained to time like us - can see what we need and what is the best solution before we can. He is so willing to help us and He even often helps us without our knowledge or even our asking for assistance, He does want us to recognize the fact that we do need Him desperately so. He will provide solutions to problems, wisdom to dilemmas, strength to weaknesses, if only we ask. He wants us to also know that although He has given us a great deal in our lives, He can give us so much more if we learn to depend totally on Him, and this is the hard part for us because although we may want God involved in our lives, we like to reserve a certain space for ourselves where we can continue to feel self-sufficient!
So what are some of the benefits of this total reliance on God?
How about peace in any circumstance, assurance that He is in control even when it doesn't appear that way, a faith that astounds everyone, including ourselves. The ability to stand firm, to witness, to face adversity, to face life, with joy. Most of all, the benefit of knowing that we don't ultimately have to hang onto this life with such a firm grip. Notice the Apostle Paul's acceptance that - for the Christian - death is only an entrance into the presence of the Lord:
2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:21-25.
We don't always have to be in control, or "self-sufficient" and, in fact, we never were in the first place. "Self-sufficiency" is a myth: people need to depend and rely on each other, but especially to depend and rely on God. We can restfully reside with the One who is in control. Let us then rejoice in the freedom of the knowledge that God who is sovereign is in charge of us. Let that dependence upon God be our motto, our duty and our way of life.
MUSELTOF COUNTERCULT AND APOLOGETICS
WITNESS TO THE WORD