Pray Because…. (Part 4)
I can’t depend on myself, so I depend on the Lord for my needs. God meets and connects with me (Jn. 3:30, 10:14f; Jms. 1:5; 1 Pt. 5:6-7)
“Here’s what the Bible makes blatantly clear; the quest for independence never ends in independence. It always ends in slavery. Why? Because I was carefully designed by the Creator to live in a dependent, obedient, and worshipful relationship with Him and in humble, interdependent relationships with other human beings. The quest for independence is not simply a spiritual mistake; it’s a fundamental denial of humanity. The pursuit of independence always leaves me addicted to a list of things that I’ve looked to for hope, life, strength, and rest. In a vain attempt to distract myself from the evidence that I’m not, in fact, independent, I get hooked on things that have the ability to distract me but can never give my heart rest.”
-Paul David Tripp
Have you ever thought about how much Satan lies to us? The 2 most significant lies that we believe from the enemy are as follows: I am autonomous…I can exist as an independent entity/person; and I am self-sufficient…I am able to provide for my own needs without help from others. Pride lurks around every corner of these lies that we buy into.
You see, every time I try to control my own situation or circumstances, thinking that I can live completely independent from the Lord, I end up faltering and making a huge mess. I’m not designed to live independent. God created me to be dependent on Him for all of my needs. We were meant to be in an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father that includes full reliance on Him for everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, we are also morally responsible to make healthy, biblical decisions and live in obedience to what God has shown us in His Word. But I could put every last ounce of effort into having an “I got this” mentality and the outcome would still be the same; I’d completely screw it up!
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is talking to His disciples about how He protects, nurtures, and cares for those whom the Father has put in His care (i.e. The disciples and you and me). Look at what He says here and ask yourself who you would rather have being in control of your life; yourself or Christ?
“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock, one Shepherd…My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish- ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are One (John 10:14-16, 27-30).”
Pretty powerful stuff right there! Remember, sheep get lost and confused on their own…that’s why they need a shepherd. The whole reason we are to develop a lifestyle of prayer is to be intimately connected with the Good Shepherd.
Think about Peter, the one who denied Christ, who was then ushered back into the fold by Jesus Himself after the Resurrection. He was also the famed disciple who answered Jesus’ question regarding if the disciples would abandon Him as so many of His other followers had done. Peter, filled with boldness, answered, “Rabbi (Teacher), where else would we go? For You have the very words of eternal life.” I believe Peter was a man who understood the need for deep and abiding dependence on Christ. Peter’s story of forgiveness and walking closely with the Lord Jesus also allowed Him to pen some of the most encouraging words we have in Scripture, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares for you (1 Pt 5:6-7).”
I pray because I absolutely have to. My need, as a sinful human being, is so great that the only thing to save me from myself is Christ. As I come to realize this need more and more, my desire to pray that Christ would increase and I would decrease becomes the longing of my heart (Jn 3:30).
Prayer: Father, please keep me protected from the lies that I can somehow live a fulfilling life independent of You. Thank You for Your mercy and patience as I seek more and more to give You complete control of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Clayton J. Elliott
Director of Pastoral Ministries and Prayer, KMUSA