Small sunflower on the ledge below the brown bear exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

We’re already dependent on God

If you’ve been following Christ for any amount of time, you’ll recognize pretty quickly that the way we are supposed to think, to live, and to see ourselves is completely opposite from what the world says. The way the world thinks, acts, lives, focuses–does anything–is usually backward in comparison to what the Bible says, but somehow we all have gotten it in our heads that what the world says matters more than what the Bible says. So even believers who’ve been following Christ for years will still look at what Jesus said and think it sounds weird or difficult or impossible, but it’s not.

One of the most ironic, life changing passages in the Bible is in Matthew 5, a little chapter that’s actually part of a larger sermon that Jesus preached, usually referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. I believe it’s three chapters, Matthew 5-7, and nestled in the beginning of chapter 5 is a small section called the Beatitudes. And in it, Jesus says some revolutionary things, things that shocked people. In fact, the Bible even says in Matthew 7:28-29 that the crowds were awed by his words because “he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.”

Small sunflower on the ledge below the brown bear exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Small sunflower on the ledge below the brown bear exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Matthew 5:3.

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

I always think it’s a good idea to read multiple versions of the Bible if you don’t speak the original language Scripture was written in, and one of my favorite versions to compare is the Amplified Version because it goes very deep into word meaning. This is Matthew 5:3 in the Amplified Version:

Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

As an independent person, I struggle with this, because “knowing how much I need someone” and “being happy” don’t usually go in the same sentence. But if I follow Christ and if I believe the Bible, I have to believe that this is true. And if you think about it and apply what you know about God to it, it makes sense.

I wouldn’t say that our culture directly pushes us to be independent. Actually, our culture is becoming more and more dependent but not on God. We become dependent on comfort, on technology, on government, on pleasure and convenience. Our culture encourages us to think the same and fit into the same mold. But who do you know who follows that sort of thinking who is happy? Not rich. Not successful. But happy.

Conversely, how many people do you know who are entirely dependent on God who are happy? Granted, I know a lot of people who say they follow Christ who aren’t happy, but in those instances, I wonder if they are truly as dependent as they say.

Think about a life entirely dependent on God. Think about what that kind of life would look like. If we were entirely dependent on God, if we got it through our thick skulls that God provides everything we need when we need it, we wouldn’t need to worry about anything. We wouldn’t be discontent with anything because we’d understand that God has given us everything already and just because someone else has more doesn’t make us less of a person. We wouldn’t need to find our identity anywhere else. We wouldn’t need to find happiness anywhere else. And we wouldn’t be constantly seeking satisfaction from sources that will never satisfy.

Who couldn’t be happy with a life like that?

The only thing preventing me from living that life is letting go of my independence. Because God already holds that place in my life. I am already entirely dependent on Him. He gave me breath when I woke up this morning. His grace sustains me through my days. His strength helps me focus on things I need to do. He’s already providing everything I need. The one place where the whole thing breaks down is me–my attitude about Him.

Attitude is everything.

I am already 100% dependent on Him, but if I refuse to acknowledge that fact, I will never be happy. Even though He’s already giving me everything I need, until I acknowledge how much I need Him, I’m going to keep on worrying, keep on fighting, keep on struggling, keep on envying, etc. etc. etc. And that’s not the way we’re supposed to live.

Acknowledge your insignificance. Understand His grace and love. Depend on Him. You already do, whether you accept it or not, but once you get past the roadblock of pride and realize how much you need Him, something changes in your thinking.

Is it weak to depend on Him like this? Absolutely.

Guess what? We’re all weak. Nobody is strong enough to make it through life without Him. Anybody who says different is lying to themselves. And the more we try to be independent in life, the more unhappy we will be. We weren’t designed to live on our own. We were designed for life with Christ. And until we accept that, we’ll never stop searching.