Posts Tagged ‘dependence on God’

Before we go any further, I want to tell you what this post is not. It’s not a patriotic or political post. Politics have been done to death and my life is so much happier since I’ve started pushing them further and further off the front burner of my life. It’s also not in any way bagging on America. I consider having been born and raised in the U.S. to be one of the great blessings God has given me. Independence Day is the day we celebrate the U.S. breaking free from England and becoming a sovereign nation and while this nation is far from flawless, it’s still a good place to live and grow and raise a family and not matter your views on immigration, there are a lot of people taking great risks to be here. I appreciate this land… but that’s not what I am talking about.

See there’s a downside to independence. No not the freedoms we enjoy in this nation, but in this idea that so many people carry that they’re independent and they don’t need anyone else. That can be a huge problem and it is not the way God designed us to be. No friends we were not created for independence. We were created for relationships. Thing about the body of Christ image from 1 Corinthians 12. Paul writes about how all these parts (people) come together to form one cohesive whole, a church that represents Christ to the world. We’re diverse and different, but when we bring those differences together and we each bring our best to the table and work together, we can do things that we could never accomplish independently. In the case we were not created for independence, but rather interdependence, depending on each other to do more together than we could ever do apart. As creatives, this plays out every time we collaborate or work with others in any way. One of the great freedoms we can find in the creative life is when we realize we don’t do everything well and allow ourselves to “out-source” our weaknesses to those for whom our weaknesses are strengths.

And then there’s the other element to be considered. We were also created to be totally and completely dependent on God. What did Jesus say? “Apart from me you can do nothing…” This is the truth of our existence as human beings. Whether we know it or not, whether we choose to believe it or not, we depend on God for everything from the air we breathe, to the world we walk on. When we acknowledge our dependence it frees us from having to solve and control everything and that may be the greatest freedom there is.

Celebrate your independence, but don’t forget to revel in your interdependence and the relationships it can create and, of course, never forget your total dependence on God, because in all of this we find true freedom.


Well today, if everything goes according to plan, I’m spending most of the day in my van. My prayer is that I”m speeding (at a responsible, legal level) across the states of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That’s the plan, Lord willing. I was a little hesitant to try to make the whole trip today, because holidays can be less than fun travel days, but I want to get home, I miss my family and a family at church needs me, so here I go.

It’s the fourth of July, or as we call it here in America, Independence Day. It’s the day we declared our independence from what was at time an oppressive regime. While I value our national independence, I’m not a big fan of some forms of independence. Maybe I’m not saying that right. Let me see if I can say it better. We Americans value our independence, and when it comes to a lot of things, that is okay, but when it comes to our lives as individuals, independence is something of an illusion, especially for Christians. You see when it comes to God, we are anything but independent. We are totally dependent on God and we ignore that at our peril. We depend on Him for everything from the air we breathe to the ground upon which we stand. There is not a moment of our lives when we are not dependent on our sovereign Lord.

But wait, there’s more. When it comes to community and especially church we are also anything but independent. Think about it, for everything you can do, there are a thousand things you can’t. For example, I was talking to a retired E.R. nurse the other day, who was relating a story about one of her first experiences in her career. Suffice it to say, I would have been passed out on the floor. God made her able to do what I cannot, and as a result I am glad there are people like her around. People who can do what I cannot. I’m sure, were our conversation longer, we would have found somethingI can do that she cannot and that’s sort of the point. God did not make any of us completely independent. Rather he made us interdependent, so that, in addition to depending on Him, we would also have to depend on each other. That way we will respect and maybe even love each other. It seems that’s pretty important to Him. “They will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another…” remember! “We are many parts but one body…” We need to remember that one too.

So today as we celebrate our independence as a nation, let us also celebrate the God we can depend on completely and all the wonderful people God has put into our lives who do what we cannot and who in the process make life very, very rich.

One thing I can tell you about doing God’s will. It’s not always easy, as a matter of fact sometimes it’s downright hard. About now, you’re probably thinking, “Buy this guy a dictionary, because clearly he doesn’t know what encouragement means. Oh yes, I do, but in this word of encouragement, I have to confront another lie:

“If God’s in it, it will be easy.”

or the variation, “If it’s difficult, God’s not in it.”

I have heard these things over and over again. This lie is born out of discouragement, but it also feeds to more discouragement. Not only are you having difficulties, but people are telling you those difficulties mean God has left the building. Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, this line of thinking tells us that people like Paul and JESUS, were outside the blessing and will of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both of these people demonstrate for us the power of persevering with God in spite of circumstances. Both paid the ultimate price to do the will of God.

Most of us will never have to pay that price for our faith. Instead we get to come up against hardships and difficulties and make the decision to press on with God. Let me say it this way, just because God is in it does not mean it will be easy, as a matter of fact if everything you do in the Kingdom is easy, may I suggest you may not be stretching yourself enough and settling for less that God’s best for your life. The difficulties of our missions are often a gift from God, because it is those things that remind us where our real strength comes from. Believers need to be dependent on God rather than our own abilities.

God never promised any of this would be easy, but, and here comes the encouragement, He promised to be with us through it all. He promised never to leave nor forsake us and He promised that He who began a good work in us will carry it through to completion in the day of Christ Jesus. In other words, He started it, He will finish it and He will walk with us and help us.

Remember when Jesus told us in Matthew 11, “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This yoke image is huge. A yoke was a device used in farming where two oxen would be placed side by side and used to pull a heavy load. So there you are, pulling the heavy load of your calling. You have a passion for it, you have skills and abilities, but you never thought it would be this big or this heavy. So you follow this command. Your burden is heavy, but you go to Jesus and he gently leads you into the yoke of Jesus, but you only are able to fill one side. You look over and to your surprise Jesus places his head into the other side. Now you have the one who made the universe pulling by your side. Guess what happens. Your burden lightens. You still have to pull, and it still isn’t always easy, but there is a power far greater than your own, making things work.

Are you yoked with Jesus or are you trying to pull this thing all by yourself? Help is on the way. Be encouraged. Submit to Jesus and He will help you. It may not be easy, but it will be good.

As creatives, “What do you want to do?” is one of the biggest questions we face. Every time a project is put to bed there is a void that needs to be filled as we slip from what’s finished to what’s next. Selecting our projects is really important. After all, we only have so many hours in a day and we want them to be as productive as possible. The last project is done, what do we do next?

The question can be daunting and we need to be careful. It’s easy to let ourselves become overwhelmed with the infinite possibilities, leaving us unable to choose. It’s equally possible for the question to be answered with a blank answering the question with “I have no earthly idea.” “Earthly idea” now there’s the rub. You see, while “What do you want to do?” is a big question. There is a bigger one. “What does God want me to do?” Of course this question can be answered with prayer and God is faithful. Ask and it shall be given.

Now I know what you might be thinking. “Sometimes yes, sometimes no.” No, God is always faithful. You say, but I asked and He hasn’t given me anything. I’m in a dry spell and God seems to be silent. Well there are two possibilities. The first reason the Lord feels silent on what to do next is because He wants you to take a break and rest. Here’s a tip. If you are running yourself ragged 24/7, that isn’t of God. God designed us to need rest. He designed us to depend on Him and not on our own abilities, drives and desires. If your priorities are out of control, God may be putting on the brakes. He’s done this with me (or maybe I should say, “for me”) and He did it because He is good.

Of course there is another possibility. The reason God is not giving you an assignment is because you already have one. He has already given you one, but for one reason or another, you have put it off. Maybe you didn’t want to do it, or maybe you thought it was too huge. Friend, we have to remember God’s will is perfect. The things He lays before us to do are the things that are for our good or for the good of this world that He loves. The projects He lays before us are part of His plan for the universe and He is not likely to let up. On the “too big” front, of course it’s too big for you. That’s precisely the point. We are designed for interdependence one with another. We are designed for community and if that’s the case, many of the projects we get are group projects designed to draw us into relationship and designed to draw others to God. The other reason God gives us things that feel too big is to remind us of our utter dependence on God. Nothing is too big for Him and when we get to the other side of that, we see His faithfulness and He gets the glory. 

So ask God what He would have you do. Ask Him to reveal incomplete assignments and who you need to help you make it so. This much I know, God loves you and He is faithful. He will come through. When we are seeking Him with all of our hearts, “What do you want to do?” will often line up with what God wants you to do and when those two things align…

Look out!