Are You Living Spiritually Dependent?
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Are you living dependent or independent? The vast majority of people believe they are independent in fact pride themselves in being such. The American Dream incorporates this idea that God designed us to be independent creatures and to be dependent on no one and to try to become all that we dream ourselves to be. It is the philosophy of humanism. Do you view yourself as independent or the opposite “in-dependence?” “In—dependence. The latter is the biblical Christian world view, of your identity, as God designed you. Ever since the Fall of Man where Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, mankind has believed himself to be independent. After they ate of the forbidden fruit, they believed the lie, that they had become “like-God.” The truth is man is never independent of spiritual source. Adam and Eve had a new master i.e., Satan and his spiritual condition of sin. That is who they were in dependence to.
Christians who have been born again, born from above, are now in—dependence to the Lord Jesus Christ and as such we derive what we do from Him. Unfortunately, many Christians, have not appreciated this vital truth. Consumed by the attitude that they are independents selves, they have lived independent lifestyles.
The truth is, your identity is in Christ as a Christian you were never created to independently live, but you were to live “in-dependence” to what Christ was doing so that you may experience the abundance of his life, and that the world around you would be able to see Jesus through you!
This is exactly what Jesus was referring to when He said, “he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). Do you understand what Jesus is saying? He is saying that even as He was “in-dependence” to His Father, you and I were created to be “in-dependence” to Him, once we became Christians, Christ-ones.
God never intended Christians to attempt to live the Christian life. That may come as quite a shock to many Christians, because sadly that is what many of us were taught; that it was up to us to live the Christian life. That would imply that we had the resources or the ability to do such, which is obviously a fallacy.
The question is often asked, “how are we to experience Christ's life?” How are we to experience what it means to be Christian? The answer is through dependent attitudes of faith. Notice, dependent attitudes of faith, not independent, but dependent.
Let us consider five words in the New Testament scripture that illustrate faith as a dependent recognition of participation with God. You may not have recognized these words as faith attitudes.
The first word is the word “reckon.” To reckon is faith counting on the reality. Romans chapter 6 and verse eleven is an example of such. To reckon literally means to regard or to consider it as a fact, in other words reckon means to count on it or depend on it. The Christian is to depend on Christ who has become their personal identity.
The second word that we find in New Covenant scripture is the word “submit.” To many people, this is a scary word, particularly to those that feel like they want to be independent, but the word “submit” is also a faith word. To submit is faith yielding to authority. An example of this in scripture is recorded in Romans chapter 13 and verse five. Submission involves recognition and response, so, it's twofold, both recognizing and responding to a rightful authority and of course in the context of scripture it's talking about us submitting ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and His character and whatever He's wanting to do in us.
The third word of faith dependent attitude is the word “present.” To present is faith offering ourselves to the rightful owner. Romans chapter 6 and verse thirteen says we are to “present ourselves as a living sacrifice.” This language is also found in Romans 12. To present yourself, means to place yourself, to place yourself in the context of God's sovereign authority. It is the place of wherever you are right now. Recognize that Christ's at work in you and for you. To present yourself to whatever He's wanting to manifest in and through your life and that is what it means to present yourself in the context of God's sovereign authority. Is there any context that you find yourself that God is not sovereignly in control? No! But that does not necessarily mean that you always live in a faith attitude of dependence upon him.
The fourth word that we will consider regarding dependent attitudes of faith is the word abide. To abide is to remain. Abiding is faith remaining where God puts us. It is “staying put” and of course the classic passage of scripture that illustrates this for us is where Jesus is recorded in John chapter fifteen and verses four through seven. Abide means to reside, to dwell, to live and to make our abode in Christ. Regardless of the situation that we find ourselves in we are to “abide in Him.” That is a faith-dependent attitude.
The fifth word that is a dependent attitude of faith is the word “rest.” We live in a restless world today. People are concerned about the circumstances that they find themselves in and they are anything but resting and yet to rest is faith enjoying God's activity. Faith is enjoying God's activity. A powerful passage that illustrates this is Hebrews chapter four and verse eleven. Jesus came to restore our participation in the “rest” of God. We do not have it within ourselves to be able to cease from laboring, to cease from striving, to cease from activity. We derive what we do from the spiritual source of Christ as our life and so to rest is to be restored, to participate in the activity of God which is a “resting activity.” Jesus said, “come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We need to respond to live in His rest.
These five words describe the Christians responsibility to walk by faith, to reckon, submit, present, abide, and rest, these describe the attitude of faith. To a performance-minded Christian these words seem to be passive but they're not. Remember faith is the receptivity of God's activity, and therefore faith is experiencing the activity of God. Faith is experiencing the grace of God so what these words are, are dependent attitudes of faith which we derive from grace, God working in us, and God working through us. Isn't that the Good News? The good news is that God never commands us to do anything apart from His sufficiency and His grace as our ability to accomplish.
What is it that He is asking you to do? He is the dynamic of His own demands. You say well what is my responsibility? Your responsibility is to walk by faith. You became a Christian by faith, and you experience the Christ life, the Christian life by faith as well. Your only responsibility as a Christian is to participate with him in what He wants to do in and through you.
That is why the apostle Paul wrote in first Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 10 “by the grace of God I am what I am and His grace toward me did not prove vain, but I labored even more than all of them now watch this yet not I but the grace of God with me.”
Paul is testifying to the indwelling presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the grace of God, Jesus Christ Himself living within him. Paul’s responsibility was to respond to Christ and what He was up to in Paul's life in the context of his day-to-day living and as he did, so he walked by faith in “reckoning,” in “submitting” and “presenting,” and “abiding” and in “resting” to whatever it was that God was up to.
What a beautiful way to live; that is the Christian life! Your life as a Christian is the dependent life, and faith is a relational word that connects us to Jesus. All these words reckon, submit, present, abide, and rest are relational words so you might relationally participate with Jesus Christ. In so doing you experience Life as God Intended.