I remember when our oldest daughter, Nicole, became a toddler. One day, she suddenly wanted to do things all by herself. It was like someone flipped on a light switch. We heard her say so often, “I do it, I do it!” From feeding herself, to getting dressed in the morning, to using the toilet – she wanted to be independent and self-sufficient. It was quite a change for us to get used to since, for two-plus years, she had been so dependent on us. But we knew it was important for our children not to rely on mom and dad all their lives. We encouraged her to do things herself, from picking out her clothes to brushing her teeth to saying her prayers at bedtime. It was a tough but necessary adjustment for us both. But the opposite is true with our relationship with the Lord. He wants us to be totally dependent on Him for everything. Why is that - what’s wrong with being self-sufficient? Well, I believe the answer to that is that we are spiritual beings housed in earthly bodies and, therefore, have limitations to what we see and understand. When we are walking in the flesh (being self-sufficient), we do not see things from God’s point of view. We do not see the spiritual battles going on in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We are blinded by much of what is happening and therefore cannot make good decisions. But, when the Spirit of God lead us, we are depending on Him to guide our steps. We are trusting Him to lead us down the right path, which does not always make the most sense in the natural world. But in the spiritual world, His way makes perfect sense. God wants us to depend on Him for EVERYTHING so that we will avoid unnecessary hardships. It also helps to build our trust in Him: when we follow the Lord’s leading, we see that His plan works so much better than our plan. It’s comforting to know that we have a heavenly Father who cares so much about us that He wants to help us avoid unnecessary hardships in life. When we are dependent on God, we are putting aside our pride – the desire to do things our way – and are rather trusting God to do things His way. Being dependent on God, therefore, is the very definition of humility. The more dependent we are on God, the more humble we become. It’s part of the crucifying ourselves daily that Jesus mentions in Matthew 16:24. Jesus was not commanding us to do something He wasn’t willing to do. That is how He lived his life while on Earth – relying totally on the Father and being led by of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our perfect example for this. James instructs us in chapter 4, verse 10 of his epistle to “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” When we humble ourselves before Him, we are repenting of our pride and admitting that God’s way is better than our way. We are saying, “I’ll do things your way, because your way is best.” How would you feel if your son or daughter came up to you and said that? That is how God feels when we humble ourselves before Him. God loves it when we put aside our pride and instead choose to do things His way. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision; it’s a decision we make many times each day. There will be occasions when we allow our sinful nature to take over the decision-making process, which usually leads to unpleasant circumstances. But, when we repent of these things, our loving Heavenly Father will fix the mistakes we’ve made when we chose not to depend on Him. So, if you are down, discouraged, or struggling in your walk with Christ, ask yourself, “Have I been dependent on God, or have I been self-sufficient?” Be honest with yourself. If you conclude that you have not been trusting God in some areas of your life, confess your sin to God, repent of it, and declare that you will do things His way from now on. And if you find yourself in a messy situation, He will rescue you in due time - just trust Him. He who sent Jesus to the cross for our salvation loves us. He is trustworthy and faithful and will certainly lift us up when we humble ourselves before Him.
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