John 4: 34“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
It seems almost counterintuitive, but as I look back on most of the elite athletes I knew in various sports, one thing I found they had in common was that they were keen to learn. They tended to be the ones who listened intently to the coach or trainer. In contrast, I also competed with many athletes who were very gifted, but they seemed to always know better than the coach and they were disinterested in following the instructions of the leader. They were independent.
While I’m sure there are exceptions, of those athletes I knew growing up who were “independent” and didn’t keenly follow the coaches’ instructions, I can’t recall a single one who excelled and made it much past high school competition. Their independence stagnated their growth. They were too immature and proud to understand that they needed to learn from others in order to grow. They did not understand their need for dependence.
I find the same as I consider Christians. The irony is that those who I consider mature Christians would consider themselves extremely dependent on God, whereas those who are less mature are more independent of God, and feel they can survive just fine on their “God-given” wisdom and instincts.
The greatest man to ever walk on the face of the earth made it clear multiple times that he did nothing outside of what his father instructed him to do. Here are just a few examples from scriptures. “’My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’” (John 4:34). “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’.” (John 5:19). “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38).
If Jesus, the Son of God found it incomprehensible to do anything other than what God showed him to do, if he was that dependent on his father, how much more do we, frail humans, need to be inextricably tied together with our father in heaven.
Honestly take a survey of your life and consider how dependent you are on God. How much of your daily life goes on without a single thought of what God desires for you? In Ephesians 2:10 we read that we were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. Are you so independent that you can’t even hear God’s gentle voice prodding you to undertake those good works? Choose to humble yourself and become a man or woman of God who proudly says that without God you are a boat without a keel just being blown and tossed all about. The world preaches independence, but God preaches dependence – dependence on Him. What do you choose today?