As we grow up, we are told that we can be anything we want to be, so long as we work hard to get there. We are told that we can obtain the amount of money that we want to make, go to the college we want to go to, and be as successful as we want to be. Essentially, we grow into independent people who don’t need or want the care of our parents, teachers, and coaches. Most of us strive to become the person that our parents would be proud of, and that our peers would look up to and even be jealous of.
The downfall in growing into this independent person, this “I can do whatever I want if I work for it” person, is that we fall into the trap of believing that we do not need God.
For me, I was well on my way to this successful independence. When I graduated high school, I had a college scholarship both academically and athletically. I had this plan for success that I was surely going to fulfill. I was going to graduate college with honors, enter into the workforce, and climb the corporate ladder until I was making enough money to do and buy anything I wanted. To include God in this plan would mean taking the glory away from myself and the effort I put into it.
If you know anything about the nature of sin and its ability to wreak havoc on everything in its path, then it shouldn’t surprise you that upon my arrival to Georgetown College, my path to successful independence turned into brokenness and disappointment. I got benched on the football team, and academically it wasn’t looking like I would have the glorious GPA that I expected to kick off my college career. My plan was failing.
God, in his wonderful grace, showed me that I was wrong for trying to live a life for me, and not for Him. My life was never going to work out the way I had hoped, because even if I had obtained this worldly “success”, I still wouldn’t have been satisfied. My deepest longing was to feel loved and affirmed in every way, and that cannot come from possessions or success. We are fully loved and approved of by God. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”.
I had a changed heart; I started living for Christ and not myself, but my mentality of growth in every aspect was still tainted with this independent mindset. Because of our culture’s innate belief that maturity equals independence, I carried this into my relationship with God. The lie that I believed was that Christian maturity came from needing God less, that Christ was making me more perfect so that I wouldn’t mess up as much.
Take a look at Mark 10:13-16:
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”
What this passage is saying is that as Christians we should model our lives after the model citizens of the Kingdom of God: helpless and dependent children. For us to think that we need God less as we mature is to steal glory away from a loving Father who calls us to depend on Him like an infant. I am seeing more and more in my walk with Christ that growing in maturity as a believer means becoming more dependent on God, not less.
This, in fact, is the best news in the world. Because under my leadership, my path to success ultimately fails. When I can turn to the Father who created the universe and also knows every hair on my head, I can trust that His plans don’t fail and they are for my good.
What are the implications for this biblical truth? Well, think about if a baby tried to take care of itself. What would happen if it would try to feed itself, bathe itself, or provide shelter and safety for itself? This would surely mean death for the infant; it would not be able to save itself. This is the same for us and God: only in him can we have assurance that we can be saved from death itself. I can come to Jesus for total salvation and and a life of dependency for my every need.
If you’re like me, and you feel the need to control your life, lay it down at the foot of the cross, and come to God like a needy infant.