Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Dependency on God

Psalm 62:8

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

profileA question was asked Tuesday morning in the co-ed Bible Study at our church. The question was something along the lines of – why don’t we see God’s work and action in our churches like in Biblical days? It was a very good question – I thought. One I hope I answered in a way that made sense and in a way that would challenge us to think. I thought I would share some of my thoughts along this line today. I would love your thoughts in the comments section.

The first thought was that Jesus – while on earth – did nothing that He wasn’t told and empowered to do by the Father. All that Jesus did while on earth was at the command of the Father. John 5:30 – By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Jesus emptied Himself of His equality with the Father when He came to earth – that old fully human – fully divine thing. This is how Paul described it in one of his Epistles/letters. Philippians 2:5–8 – 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

So point one is that Jesus did nothing that other humans couldn’t do if they walked with the Father like Jesus did while on earth. He called upon the Father the way we should call upon the Father. If we spent the quality time with the Father as Jesus did – as He challenged His disciples to do – than God would operate in our lives as well – even doing miracles.

Jesus told His disciples this truth. Jesus told His disciples – His followers – that they would do greater things than He had done. John 14:12 – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Why are we seeing some of these greater things in other places – like third world countries – and not in the Christian church in America was the follow-up question?

Putting aside the viewpoint – which I do not believe – that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer active today – I began to explain a view that I hold on this subject. I began by explaining that the church in America is plagued by wealth. With wealth usually comes a lack of dependency on God and a deeper reliance on self. The more we have (and the poorest among us have more than ⅔ of the world if not a higher percentage) the harder it is to depend or rely on God. Jesus shared a similar thought when He talked about the rich and heaven. Matthew 19:24 – Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

We’re told to seek after the things of God – even the gifts that God has to offer. 1 Corinthians 12:31a – Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. Instead – many in the church today seek after power or the things of the world. Rather than seeking His face and desiring His grace – many in the church today are so self-reliant that they hardly have time for God. Think about this. How much time do we spend in prayer each day? How much do we search through His Word for truths and direction? Do we go off and spend a whole evening in prayer – praying through some tough season in our lives? These are all things that Jesus did and He challenged His disciples to do.

Once when His disciples were trying to cast out a demon – Jesus challenged them to spend more time in prayer. Mark 9:14–29 – 14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

In order to increase our dependency on God we might need to strip away some of the frills of this life. Live more in our needs rather than our wants. Find ways to serve God with the abundance we are blessed with in our lives. What do you think?  Are we dependent upon God or are we self-reliant?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

P.S. – Sorry this was so late coming out today – it was a longer devotional thought than normal.

April 16, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , ,

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