Several days ago, we talked about the National Geographic article that focused on the rise of non-religious faith.
Today, I wanted to expand upon something that was in the article – but is one of the primary reasons for why anyone rejects faith in God.
It all comes down to need. If we do not need God (or we think that we do not need God) we will never really seek a place for Him in our lives.
As human beings we are naturally self-dependent. We value standing on our own. We admire people who “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” We extol the virtue of people who so dedicate themselves to a task that their determination is an inspiration to others. In short, independence is a thing we cherish – and desire.
This is another reason why yielding our life to Jesus can be so difficult for us. We have to let go of our valued independence. We have to voluntarily rely upon Someone else for the substance, and course, of our lives. We have to put ourselves in that place where we are constantly needing God.
This issue (of self-dependence) goes deeper than we realize. Most people are intent upon the thought of controlling their own lives – of creating their own destiny – of making their own way. (Some people may even try to use God as a way to control their surroundings.) And most people abhor the thought of giving up the slightest control of their lives.
I think this is one of the reasons why non-religious faith is growing so steadily… People (especially those who see themselves as strong and self-motivated) actually like the fact that they can achieve what they desire by their own significant efforts. And they really like being dependent upon no one.
But this is really the heart of the matter. To have any kind of significant relationship with God, you have to place yourself totally in His care. You have to yield all control. You have to give up the whole notion of self-sufficiency.
God will still love you, even if you don’t – but you will never discover the fullness of His love in your life.
A part-time faith in God cannot produce a full-time relationship.
The account of the person we know as the “rich, young ruler,” is the prime example of this fact (Luke 18:18-25). We can desire a relationship with God, we can even know there is a lack within us – but when we are face-to-face with a complete surrender to God… it is so hard to let go of all we have held so dear. It was not the rich ruler’s money that was the issue – it was his self-sufficiency that prevented him from yielding to the Master (and from finding what the Master promised in return).
At the core of faith is dependence. And a person of great faith in God has discovered the value of constantly placing themselves in a position of depending on Him. Needing God is the only way to find the real wonder of Who He is.
Prayer focus: God, help me to be a person of utter reliance upon You.