Tag Archives: Depend on God

Better Than ‘All or Nothing’

14 Jul

I continue to struggle with my “soft food addiction,” especially hoarding chocolate candy, cookies and other sweet things. (It’s not that I can’t ever have something sweet, but it is a dangerous area for me.)

But one Wednesday during an appointment, I told Kim, my nutritionist, “I finally got rid of all the junk food in my house.”

Kim looked surprised and pleased. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. “Was it hard?”

“No, not really,” I said. “I ATE it all!”

I’m sort of an all-or-nothing person.  Some days I’m “all in” and thriving physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Other days, not so much.

I’ve discovered one sinful habit or attitude in one area cascades into other areas, and soon I’m walking far off the righteous path the Lord has designed for me. The path of life.

It was just a little sin, I rationalize. But it still was sin if the Lord told me “no.” And all sin is continuing evidence of how much I need Him.

I love the American Dream, but for a long time I carried over the concept of independence into my walk with God.

I thought, “The more I’m independent—the less I have to call upon the Lord for help—this will be evidence of spiritual maturity.”

That couldn’t have been more foolish.

The true sign of spiritual maturity is

greater understanding of our need

and growing dependence on the Lord.

So I’m learning to step back and evaluate why I ran ahead of God … why I made a decision without consulting Him … why I lagged behind in disobedience … why I mindlessly walked through life.

It’s usually about some form of pride, selfishness, willfulness or outright rebellion. But sometimes it’s just forgetfulness. I forget how needy I truly am. 

In “performance mode,” I bounce back and forth between legalism and giving up.

In those times, I ultimately am most desperate.

But I’m learning to walk under God’s protective grace:

Observing, confessing and correcting. Not beating myself up. Moving forward in grace and trusting Him.

There is no condemnation in Christ, but there are constant opportunities to learn to depend on Him.

For everything.

Just as my silly conversation with Kim indicated, I have often made foolish choices.

But I’m learning to keep in step with the Spirit. 

How? It’s a process:

  1. Acknowledge – I admit your errors and mistakes; confess my sins. (Again, this is not a matter of beating myself up!)
  2. Accept – I receive the forgiveness I have in Christ.
  3. Allow – I let God’s grace flood over me, encouraging me; I remember what Christ has done for me!
  4. Adjust – I correct my thoughts, attitudes and behavior. It’s a matter of becoming obedient to God’s Word and will, and walking in the Spirit afresh. It’s a walk in freedom!

All-or-nothing? No.

The better perspective is ALL-IN-ALL.

This song expresses what’s in my heart as I think about this today:

“You are my strength when I am weak.

You are the treasure that I seek.

You are my all in all.”

(“You Are My All in All,” sung here

by David Phelps/Gaither Vocal Band.)

Jesus wants to be my Everything.

And I sincerely want that too. Even when I stray. Even when I mess up.

I want to be a woman after God’s own heart.

Why? I’m learning He is my strength, my wisdom, my victory, my only hope and so much more.

Is this your heart too? Is Jesus your “all in all?

 

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Is Your ‘Competency’ Robbing God?

2 Mar

I read this grandmother’s story and laughed out loud!

“I didn’t know if my young granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her,” the grandma said. “I would point out a CrayonPieces_croppedcrayon and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and she was always correct.

“It was fun for me, so I continued,” she said. “But when it was time for my granddaughter to leave, she turned and said, ‘Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!” *

That sounds like something my granddaughter would say … while rolling her eyes! But in this story, the granddaughter only wanted her Grandma to become more competent, instead of leaning so hard on her.

I want to confess something. That is how I used to picture my relationship with God.

I thought that God wanted me to become so competent I’d stop leaning on Him for everything. I viewed spiritual maturity as “not needing God” so much.

Was I ever wrong!

God does expect us to strive for excellence. (Slackers and deadbeats don’t honor Him.) But if we think we can ever do anything without God’s help, we’re believing a devilish lie.  The enemy wants us to become self-sufficient and independent from our Creator and His plans for us.

I think it’s part of our culture to view self-reliance as a mark of success; and it’s tempting to carry this over into our walk with God. But we can’t fall for that lie. We’re never going to stop needing God; we will always need to depend on Him.

Anything less than total dependency on God leaves room for PRIDE.

The heart of pride believes (or acts like), “I can do this without you, Lord” … or “I’ll take it from here.” We rely on our own strength, our own perspective, our own resources. We shrink our lives to the size of our own capabilities, our own competence. And that’s not living a supernatural adventure with God, is it?

I used to think my life would glorify the Father when I finally got strong enough to move forward in faith without pestering God with prayers for His help. The problem was, functionally my faith was in myself. I was operating as if there were no God, because I didn’t ask Him for His input, wisdom or strength. Now, I understand that God is glorified in my childlike trust, in my utter dependence on Him. Instead of self-confidence, He wants me to cultivate God-confidence!

God wants to show Himself mighty in us and through us. Anything less robs God of the glory He deserves.

It’s not about my strength and agenda, it’s about His (Job 42:2; Proverbs 3:5-7). It’s not about building my self-centered kingdom, it’s about seeking His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Being competent is not wrong, but our competency must be in Him. Only the Lord is sufficient to meet our needs and enable us to accomplish His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:5). His all-sufficient grace, operating in us, becomes our sufficiency, our competence for the good works He calls us to do (2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9) as ministers of the new covenant of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6a).

This competence in the Spirit—depending on Him for everything—does not rob God; it glorifies Him.

Do you struggle with “competency” in the flesh? Where does this show up in your life? How can you cultivate God-confidence?

* Story is adapted

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