Total Dependence on God
Someone asked me why I always talked about depending on God. Couldn’t I do anything for myself? Didn’t I want to develop some life skills of my own instead of always running to God like a weakling? I admitted that many a time I have tried to do things on my own. When things are going well in life, I tend to run along on my merry way thinking that I have got this. But I don’t got this. I always wind up falling on my face. It takes humility to rely on God because it strips me of my pride to ask God for help. God allows me to fail to remind me that apart from Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
What does it mean to depend totally on God? Does it mean that I sit on the couch and relax while God does all the work because God is in control? No. God did not call me to be lazy. Does it mean that I do all the work, and ignore God? No. Total dependence on God is a process whereby I allow God to go both before me and beside me. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (NKJV).
God Goes Before Me
God goes before me and clears the path. I must take my directives from God and not my own ideas. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NIV). Often, I think I understand the best thing to do, because it makes sense to me. However, I need God to direct my paths because He has the greater perspective.
God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). He doesn’t always do things the same way twice because He wants me to seek Him first for guidance. I think of Moses and how he got water from rocks in the wilderness. The first time God told Moses to strike the rock, and water poured forth. The next time, however, God told Moses to speak to the rock. In his anger, Moses struck the rock. His disobedience bared Moses from entering the promised land. Fully relying on God requires me to seek Him for every decision.
Does this mean I go to God for guidance over each shirt I wear or what I eat for lunch? Yes and no. While, no, I don’t think that God wants me to be crippled by indecision with worrying over a cheeseburger or a hoagie, He does care that what I wear and eat honor Him. So, yes, I need choose clothing and food that I won’t be ashamed of before God. I decide beforehand that what I put on and put in my body will bring God joy.
God Walks Beside Me
I must go beyond getting God’s guidance to obeying. James 1:22 say, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (NKJV). I’ve heard that obedience is God’s love language. Obedience requires action. Philippians 2:12-13 says, “Therefore work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (NKJV). I have to work out my own salvation. God provides me the desire to answer His calling and actually equips me to do so. What a good God! When I tap into His unending strength, I can obey His commands.
My washing machine broke recently, so I ordered a new one. Then my new washing machine wasn’t working properly. If I sat around waiting for God to fix my washing machine, I’d never have clean clothes. Instead, as I talked with God, He directed me. I made six trips to Home Depot, video-chatted with the company’s vibration experts, and had installation folks visit my house three times. Finally, things are better, but I needed God’s endurance to keep going. Even in the middle of frustrations, I knew that God will take care of me in the long run. Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV). God completes what He starts. He doesn’t drop us on our heads as we seek to obey.
The Lord blesses obedience and curses disobedience. Deuteronomy 30:19-20a says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days” (NKJV). Now, blessing, does not mean a life of ease, but one where God has promised that “He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV). God is with us through every hill and valley we face. As we fully depend on God, our faith muscles grow and our relationship with God deepens as He leads us in the way we should go.
7/28/2019 08:28:13 pm
I have always loved Deuteronomy 31:8. That promise from God is such a comfort to me! I think a time in my life that I had to trust Him most was when my husband joined the military, after we finished our college degrees, and it was the first time I was leaving family and my hometown. It was a difficult time for me, and my faith wasn't as active and strong then as it is today, but I did lean on Him and trust His guidance and plan for our lives, and it was such a great and wonderful time in our lives, even with and through the trials of deployments and moves. God was so faithful and true to us!
8/3/2019 01:02:36 pm
I love how God builds our ability to depend on Him as we face new circumstances. Your faith was still growing at that time, but choosing to depend on Him, grew your trust in Him. God is so good.
7/29/2019 05:50:01 pm
I agree Ms. Joanna. I don't think God wants us to go to Him for every decision we make, but I think He expects us to go to Him with every decision we are unsure about or uncomfortable making ourselves. What clothes I wear probably doesn't worry God too much. Whether I am revealing too much or wearing t-shirts that poorly reflect His presence in my life (i.e. harming my testimony), that's a different story. I also believe that as we mature/grow in our faith, we find much more reliance on our ability to know God's thoughts. As we become more like His Son, then we begin to make decisions that better reflect His lessons applied in our lives. What a great topic. As for anyone who would question your reliance on God? My response if asked of me would be "You bet I do. He guides every decision I make." God's blessings young lady.
7/30/2019 10:15:47 pm
Thanks for your reminder that to go to God even for little things in which uncertainty arises. I was thinking in terms of dressing modestly and eating moderately, but even in those there can be a need for clarity. Agreed in that the closer we grow to God, the easier it is for us to hear Him and as we've abided in Him, our filter for His will becomes better tuned. Thanks so much for pulling out those parts.
7/30/2019 08:48:47 am
Joanna, This is a fantastic perspective. You've made such an important point. Dependence on God does not mean being idle. In order for God to walk before us and beside us, we must also be walking. Thanks for this great reminder.
7/30/2019 10:12:38 pm
Depending on God actually requires a lot of work on our part to listen to His directions and keep up with where He is going. Submission is not for the couch potato.
7/30/2019 05:04:50 pm
I think it takes more strength and courage to submit and be obedient to our God than it does to go our own way. Submission is tough! Thanks for your inspiring message
7/30/2019 10:10:53 pm
I agree that depending on God is harder than doing it our own way in the short run. Our pride really likes thinking that we can do it all. Fortunately, God always reminds us that His way is best.
7/30/2019 06:27:24 pm
Oh, submission! It's not easy for a stiff-necked people. But the benefits far outweigh anything we give up.
7/30/2019 10:08:54 pm
Yes, we have to surrender our pride and our expectations when we surrender to God and depend on Him, but we gain so many spiritual blessings in return, that it is worth it.
7/30/2019 10:51:00 pm
When I write, I ask God to help me. I know that anything good that comes out of my writing has to be from Him. I've asked Him for help about relationships and friendships. About being safe in traffic. I ask Him for help on just about everything. I liked what you said about taking initiatives. That we obey once we've heard from Him. Dependence on God is an active thing. Thanks for your post, Joanna!
8/3/2019 01:04:09 pm
Yes - depending on God requires action because faith without works is dead. When we don't know what to do next, we go with the last thing we heard from God until we receive new guidance.
8/4/2019 09:55:41 pm
An area where I've learned to rely on God more is with my career. I've had ups and downs and transitions from one place to another. Of course you put in the work to prepare and evaluate where you are at, however most things are out of my control. God has definitely helped me to have more peace and less fear than I would have had years ago.
Leave a Reply.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.