Dependence on God
I don’t know about you, but I find myself becoming overly dependent on things which are intended to help us navigate through life. For example, how well could I navigate if suddenly all GPS devices were taken away? Probably not very well.
Another example: It used to be that I had quite a few phone numbers memorized. I don’t memorize numbers anymore. They are all saved for me on my phone. In fact, just this week, I was getting a number for someone and I pulled out my phone. The funny thing is that I was giving them my own phone number! I know my own number, but I’m so used to looking up numbers that I did it out of habit. I’m overly dependent on technology.
Being overly dependent is not a new problem. In fact, the problem has existed for ages. Throughout the Bible, we don’t necessarily see people who are overly dependent on technology. But we certainly see people who are overly dependent on themselves, their own understanding, and their distorted traditions. The wisdom of Proverbs speaks to the problem. Consider Proverbs 3:5-7. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.”
The dependence on one’s “own understanding” coupled with dependence on distorted tradition led to the rejection of Jesus. But as Stephen points out in Acts 7:51-53, this wasn’t a new problem.
You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.
In our spiritual lives, we too can become too dependent on ourselves. We read in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). This verse says that it is “not of yourselves” that we have been saved. The ESV translates it as “this is not your own doing.” Put simply, in order to be saved, I have to get over myself. I must realize that I am not the one who took the initiative to send the Son into the world. I am not the one who died on the cross for all people. It is a gift from God. am not the giver of the gift. I am the recipient of the gift.
The recipient of a gift is one who feels that he or she should reciprocate. In the ancient world, if someone gave something to you, then it was expected that you would respond in some way. It’s a way of showing that we appreciate our dependence on the other. In our culture, we also have that basic principle. Even if you simply reciprocate with kind words, such as “thank you,” the receiver is expected to respond in some way to the giver.
So, how will you respond to the gift of God sending His Son? Let’s be humble enough to realize our dependence on God. For it is in Him, and not in ourselves, that “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).