Dependence. Not a word I usually think of in positive terms. The dictionary defines it as: "reliance on somebody or something," (Encarta Dictionary). In a society that encourages me to "pull myself up by my bootstraps," having to rely on anyone or anything other than self isn't a very popular concept.
Obviously there is something to be said for independence. When a child reaches adulthood, it's natural for her to get a job, find a place of her own, and pursue a life independent of mom and dad. That's a good thing.
But dependence can also be a good thing. At every stage of life, I've found it's important for me to be aware of my dependence on God.
There are days when I've tried to run the show on my own and have failed miserably. I know what needs to be done, but I can't accomplish it in my own strength. I end up frustrated and exhausted. And I realize why I don't work for the circus -- I could never juggle all those balls at the same time!
When life seems out of control, I can run back to the One who controls it all and learn from His Word.
Remember the prophet Daniel? His life gives me a good example of what it looks like to depend on God.
Daniel was a young man when he was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. When his captors offered him food from the king's table which was forbidden by the law of God, Daniel didn't waste time letting them know where his allegiance lay: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself," (Daniel 1:8; KJV).
Talk about dependence! Daniel trusted God with his life. He depended on God to give him favor with the king of Babylon. Notice the result: "And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king," (Daniel 1:19). Daniel and his friends were elevated to positions as counselors, or wise men, in the king's cabinet.
God's faithfulness proved to Daniel that he could fully depend on his Creator. Later, when the king flew into a rage and would have killed all of his counselors, Daniel asked the king's captain for an explanation. It seemed the king couldn't find anyone to interpret his disturbing dream.
Daniel couldn't interpret dreams, but he knew God could. After praying for God's mercy, the meaning of the king's dream was revealed to Daniel in a vision. When he stood before the king, Daniel was careful to praise God and give Him credit for the dream's interpretation. Once again, depending on God had saved Daniel's life.
The God Daniel served is the same God I serve. God never changes. Although I'm not a captive, or working for a foreign king, God gives me just as many opportunities to depend on Him. Realizing I need His help is important. When I depend on God to give me strength for the things that need to be accomplished, He is more than able to exceed my expectations -- every time.
Are you trying to live life in your own strength? What step will you take to begin depending on God?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me that it's important to depend on You. Forgive me when I try to live life on my own -- I don't accomplish much and I end up tired. Help me trust You with the everyday details of living. I need Your strength. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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