The Bible says that God’s children are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
If there was one principle by which Jesus guided His life on earth, it was dependence upon the Father.
John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
Put another way, Jesus did nothing independently!
There is something in our human nature which wants to “go our own way” and to “make it on our own”. Something which aspires to SELF-realisation. Something which wants to say, “I figured it out, I worked hard, I am a self-made man, and LOOK AT ME!”
The Bible has a name for this: it is called “the boastful pride of life”. So many people in the world are laboring and scheming with a view to achieving a sense of personal pride and accomplishment – for those not given primarily to lust and greed it is general THIS “pride of life” that becomes the motivation.
But what does the Bible say?
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Our motivation in all that we do SHOULD be “the love of God”, “the glory of God”, and flowing from this “love for others” – not the “love of the praise of men” but their eternal and temporal welfare.
Even in religion, men can work quite INDEPENDENTLY of God. We can try to do many things in our own strength, presumably so we can commend ourselves to ourselves or to others.
But whatever is rooted in this INDEPENDENT ATTITUDE is NOT acceptable to God!
From the beginning, God desired to do all things together with us. God used to walk with Adam in the garden in the cool of the day. God was and wanted to be a Father to Adam. And God wants to share His life with us. First of all He makes us new and clean through the blood of Jesus and the work of the cross. Then He puts His Holy Spirit within us, that it might truly be “Christ in you” and not some “independent you” that cannot in fact live the kind of life God intended for you. The kind of life God intends for you is a supernatural life, one which depends on the power of the Spirit in every aspect from start to finish.
If there is one thing we need to repent of, first and foremost, it is INDEPENDENCE. From this independence towards God come all our failures to love and obey God. You may be aware of many sins in your life. But if you try to overcome them in your own strength, your success will be limited, and you will not have dealt with THE ROOT.
John the Baptist said, “The axe is laid to the root of the tree”.
Matthew 3:10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
God doesn’t lay the axe to the branches of the tree, but to the root. Sometimes we want to clean up a few of the ugly branches of the tree – like rudeness, addiction, irresponsibility, cheating, lust and so on, but KEEP our own independent life. This will never do. God is calling for a radical departure from the old ways. If we believe in Jesus, He has made it possible for us to WALK WITH HIM again.
The call we must hear is the call to walk with God again, to have fellowship with Him.
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
So What Does Dependence on God Look Like?
Dependence on God is the attitude which says in all things “I need God”. This is expressed through prayer. Prayer is not something for useless people who have nothing better to do in life. Prayer is connecting to the Central Person of the Universe, the ONLY Savior, the King of Kings and the Lord and Lords, and INVITING HIM to get involved in all things that concern us.
We need to learn to pray much in the Spirit. Yes, even in our ability to PRAY we have to depend on the Holy Spirit to be successful.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
We were made for the purpose of receiving God into our lives, and living with Him every day!
God is not pleased when we try to go off by ourselves, even if it is to impress Him!
We need to seek His presence, His Word, His heart, His instructions all the time.
It doesn’t mean we need a supernatural revelation for every minor move we make. But in all the significant decisions, and in the way we talk to people, I believe we need the Lord’s input.
Why Does God value this Dependent Attitude So Much?
I believe one reason is that He really loves us and wants to enjoy a fellowship with us. Another reason is that He never intended for us to Go Our Own Way. We were not made for that. We were made to walk with God. The Bible says, “How can two walk together unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). We are not going to be able to walk with God unless we agree with Him.
There are a couple of other things to consider here also.
One is that we have a powerful enemy. Yes, Satan is too powerful and clever for us when we do not avail ourselves of what God freely offers us. Satan’s demons are everywhere, lying in wait to deceive, harrass, steal, kill and destroy. Satan is doing this to people everywhere now, he wants to do it to you as well. Can you really chart your own course without the continuous guidance of the Holy Spirit in an environment as treacherous as the one we have come to live in?
The second issue is the question our eternal judgment, even of the judgement or evaluation WE will face before the Lord one day. If we are in Christ, we will not be condemned, but even if we are in Christ, the quality of our work will be evaluated, and rewarded or destroyed accordingly. This is just too important to leave to chance, or to our own understanding. We need God in daily life to get this right.
The consequences of our actions now will ripple through eternity forever. Therefore we MUST draw near to God, not simply to be passive receivers of His grace, but also to be active co-workers with the Lord in all things that we do.
As the Scripture says, “Death and life is in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21) – but how can we hope to handle our tongue without Almighty God transforming our hearts, informing our minds and leading us in what to say and how to say it?
Let us pray that we may not miss the true intentions of God for our lives through a foolish clinging to independent ways. God has something much higher and more noble for us.