Where Self-Dependence Ends
“You pray as much as you depend on God.”
When I heard the speaker say that, I was brought up short. A quick mental inventory of my prayer life yielded a dismal level of dependence on God. Perhaps that’s why I was getting some of the results I was getting. And maybe it’s the reason God brought it to my attention.
We serve a God who has Genesis 1 on his resumé, yet how often do we still try to do things in our own strength? It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic. Self-dependence is an enemy of God, but many believers still struggle with it.
Before the Fall, Adam was completely God-centered. Everything he needed was supplied through relationship with his Creator. He was aware of no lack because there wasn’t any. But when Adam sinned, he immediately became aware of what he had lost and of what he was not (Gen. 3:7). He recognized his separation from God. He and Eve had become independent of God.
The results of their independence, both sweeping and devastating, are obvious in the world around us. Lack, chaos, and fear dominate the hearts of people. That’s because self-dependence, or independence, is the mindset of fallen man, and it prevents us from accessing the abilities, assets, and resources of an infinite God.
In Andrew Wommack's Faith Builders series, he talks about the importance of coming to the end of self:
“Paul said, ‘When I am weak, then am I strong’ [2 Cor. 12:10] . . . You could turn it around and say, ‘When I’m strong in myself, when I am trusting in myself, then I’m weak. But when I am not trusting in myself, when my trust is 100 percent in the Lord, then I’m strong.’ We have to come to a place where we quit putting confidence in ourselves.”
As the oldest girl in my family and, later, a single parent for fifteen years, I’d learned all too well how to rely on my own strength to get things done. I had gone to college, been self-employed, had homeschooled my children, and bought my own home. My self-reliant mindset continued to thrive even after my children were grown and out on their own.
But just as God had to bring Moses to the end of himself, so He had to do the same with me. So, in the summer between my first and second years at Charis, the Lord orchestrated my own personal “burning bush” experience. Though I didn’t travel any farther than my comfortable bedroom rocker, the impact of the encounter left its mark on my life. Speaking directly into my heart, God let me know in no uncertain terms exactly what He thought about my ability to accomplish His will in my own strength:
“The only way this is going to work is when it stops being about you and it starts being about Me. Get yourself off your mind and get Me on it. If I don’t show up, you’re toast anyway, so why make it about you?”
Thankfully, God is both loving and patient. It has been a process, but for the first time in my life, I am actually learning how to lean on Him. And He’s revealing to me that, no matter what, He’ll never let me fall.
Written by Sylvia F. Wells