Made to Be Dependent | February 22nd, 2023
A British diver was 330 feet underwater during oil-rig maintenance in the North Sea when something went terribly wrong. Chris Lemons was attached to a support ship by a cord used for oxygen and power for his headlamp when suddenly, the cord snagged and was severed. Lemons only had about 5 minutes left of oxygen inside his suit. When a crew member pulled up the severed cord, they knew the rescue would take at least 30 minutes. There wasn’t much hope.
In an interview with the BBC, Lemons said, “I realized very quickly that the end was nigh. I was on a countdown clock, and it was counting very fast.” He added, “I think once I accepted there was no hope of survival, I was powerless to do anything to save myself. A quiet resignation came over me.”
He then remarked, “I remember it being a period of great sadness really, of disbelief. How I could find myself in this dark, sad, horrible place and this is where I would end my days. I thought of everybody at home and the chaos I would cause.”
Lemons fell unconscious, but did survive quite miraculously without any permanent damage. He told the BBC that the limited oxygen in his suit had “a high concentration of oxygen which saturated my tissues and cells to allow me to survive.”
Our Dependence is Not a Design Flaw
As human beings, we are so dependent. Only God is self-sufficient, an attribute meaning He needs nothing at all to exist. He is independent of everything. In fact, He doesn’t even need us. But what is so amazing is that He wants a relationship with us! I am in awe.
Although we were made in God’s image, we can never be self-sufficient. Unlike God, we are completely dependent so He could be our Provider for all of our needs. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him! But why is it we so often seem to forget this?
After graduating from college in Arkansas, I had a deep desire to be completely independent and do life all on my own. I moved to Dallas, knowing not a single person, got my own apartment, a good paying job, worked hard to pay all my bills on time, and was pretty darn proud of my independence.
When we are doing well in life and feeling successful, it is easy to forget about asking for help from others and especially from God. Our sinful nature tells us we are on a lifelong journey of independence to find ourselves, create our own future, and achieve happiness. We want to come across to others as strong and, of course, never needy. It is counter-cultural to ask for help!
I recently read this excerpt in a lifestyle article written for young people, perhaps around the age I was when I graduated from college. It’s exactly what I would have wanted to hear:
The ability to be independent is something that not everyone possesses. You need to be independent in order to survive in the world. At the end of the day, you only have yourself to fall back on, so it is exceedingly important to be able to handle things on your own. It is all about being secure with who you are and what you believe in. It is extremely empowering knowing that you are in control of your own life and your own choices.
How far this is from the truth! We were never meant to walk alone through this challenging life, making choices without involving God. Our need for Him is not a design flaw. He made us to live in complete dependence on Him!
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
The Human Potential Movement
During the 1960s, a New Age movement known as the Human Potential Movement (HPM) formed with a belief that through the development of each person’s untapped “human potential,” they can experience a life of happiness, creativity, and fulfillment which will help others release their potential. It promoted a human-centered psychology based on the belief that a person is in complete control of their destiny.
HPM shared the optimistic belief in the goodness rather than the sinfulness of human nature, affirming that one can fulfill their highest potential on their own. Many self-help books have flooded the market ever since, with an emphasis on the power of self and no need for God.
One of these self-help books that sold over 40 million copies is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, published in 1989 and written by the late Mormon author Steven Covey. According to a well respected leader in the Latter-day Saints (LDS) Church, this book was a secular distillation of LDS values.
There are definitely some very useful tools in this book for “polishing the flesh” to help you appear greater and more confident in the world’s eyes. But skillfully interwoven in these tools is a false gospel which most will lack the discernment necessary to sort lies from truth and avoid its damaging influence.
In his book, Covey uses the term “map” for a paradigm of life. He writes, “Correct maps will infinitely impact our personal and interpersonal effectiveness far more than any amount of effort expended on changing attitudes and behaviors.”
In 1982, he published a book titled The Divine Center where he identifies correct and incorrect maps. Covey reveals that the true map is the LDS Church and that evangelical Christianity is a false map that limits the personal development of its followers. He goes so far as to label the doctrine of salvation by grace alone a “false concept” and an “apostate doctrine.” The example he gives for a true map is what LDS President Lorenzo Snow summarized in his couplet which denigrates God by humanizing Him and exalts man by deifying Him:
‘As man now is, God once was;
As God now is, man may become.’
– Source: The Divine Center, p. 81
We must be so discerning and know the Word of God before taking or sharing the advice of anyone, even when it seems so helpful and is perhaps even followed by the masses. If it does not pass the test of Scripture, it will profit us nothing and should be avoided.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12
God’s Map for a Fruitful Life
The only map we need to be following is God’s perfect mapped-out plan for our life that He drew up knowing exactly how He created us with our unique personality, special gifts, and our sanctification in mind so we could grow to be more like Him. He loves us so much and wants what is best for us!
We follow His plan by abiding in Jesus and allowing Him to lead us. As we spend time reading His Word, it will shine light on our path to show us the way to go. The false light of even the most learned self-help gurus dims in comparison to the light of God’s Word and can lead us down a dangerous path with eternal consequences.
The most important habit we can develop which has eternal value is keeping continuous, close communion with Christ. We lean on Him, rest in Him, and rely on Him for everything we need. We are completely dependent upon Him to be fruitful so we can lead others to the saving knowledge of Christ.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
The fruit is the direct result of what controls our heart. If we are living independent of Him, our deceitful heart will direct us instead of God, producing rotten fruit leading to death…
For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Matthew 15:19
In contrast, when we are walking closely with Christ, the life-giving fruit of the Spirit will begin to be revealed in us as we reflect Him in words and actions that glorify Him…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; Galatians 5:22-23a
Because we are all born with a sinful nature, we naturally produce bad fruit. Only when we have been made a new creation by putting our faith in Christ, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who empowers us to produce good fruit. We are completely dependent on Him as our life source!
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Surrender Your Independence
If you’ve ever had someone in your life that you really depended upon who let you down, you may have a tough time allowing yourself to be dependent on anyone again. You may even pride yourself on being “strong” and doing everything just fine on your own. But God longs for you to depend on Him because He knows you need Him. You were made this way so you could experience an intimate relationship with Him and the true happiness and fulfillment that comes with it. There is no one more reliable!
When we surrender our independence to Him, He is very involved in our life and finds great joy in being a part of it!
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23
What a huge burden that is lifted when we realize we don’t have to be independent, figuring out how to fulfill our own self-focused dreams for a bit of temporary happiness. When we glory in our independence, it will lead us on our self-made map to a destructive dead-end. But when we depend on Christ, we can actually boast in our weakness! As His power works in us, He is glorified.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The world will tell us dependence is a sign of weakness. But it’s actually our independence that makes us weak. When we rely on God, He becomes our power and provider for everything we need, including our salvation. He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for us to pay the penalty for our sin that we could never pay on our own. Just as diver Chris Lemons accepted there was not much hope for survival without oxygen, we must recognize that there is no hope without Christ and we are powerless to do anything to save ourselves. We are all on a fast-ticking countdown clock.
Enjoy the moments you have left by giving God your independence and the heavy burden that goes along with it. End the exhausting struggle to be your own life source. Allow Him to be your reliable Provider of every good and perfect gift from now through eternity.
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