Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why We Fail With Jesus

Independence is the great sin of mankind and by mankind I mean you and me. It is what led Adam to his act of disobedience. He operated independently from Yahweh, making a decision that was contrary to Yahweh's expressed will. Ever since then we have been living in direct opposition to Yahweh, acting independently, wanting to live without a relationship with our Creator. We don't even want to see a Creator/creation relationship and so try to dismiss the existence of the Creator, instead promoting the idea that we are all here by chance.

This idea of independence is so deeply ingrained in us that even though some of us have returned to our Creator, through the Creator's work and invitation, we still find it difficult to be dependent on him. Even though he takes great delight in guiding us, providing for us, fighting for us, blessing us, walking us through hard lessons, strengthening us, and at times rescuing us, we still act as if we want to do it on our own. We fail to understand our relationship with Yahweh.

Dependence, absolute dependence is what he is looking for in us and so desires to see the letting go of our desire and actions of independence. To be independent is to shut Jesus out and opens us again to disobedience because we cannot live for and serve Jesus while separate from him. Jesus described us as a branch of a vine. We gentiles are a grafted in branch. We get all our sustenance from the vine so that fruit can be produced through us. That is a healthy, dependent relationship. Jesus also said that those branches that are not connected to the vine dry up, are gathered together and then discarded in the fire; not a healthy relationship.

The nation of Israel had problems with dependence. They had moments of great brilliance under kings like Hezekiah but they also had moments of great ugliness as they turned away from Yahweh and sought help from others. That was king Asa's great sin. At one time trusting the Lord in the face of an army three times the size of his own and then seeking help from an enemy neighbour against a much smaller army. The Lord warned Israel against the folly of trusting anyone but him:

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
And rely on horses,
Who trust in chariots because they are many,
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the Lord! (Isaiah 31:1)

Our God is the great "do not fear" as he reminds us time and again that he is with us; always with us. It was one of Jesus' last promises, that he would be with us until the end of the age. Why? Because we are dependent on him for everything, including completing the mission we have been assigned. We are a brilliant people who on our own can accomplish a lot, but we can't do our Lord's work. We can do something that looks like it but it is lacking the element of eternity because only he can give it that element.

If we are not trusting the Lord with the mission then we certainly are not trusting him with our daily living. We fill ourselves with worry, fear, anxiety. We lose sleep trying to come up with a plan. We turn to everyone else for help and advice. We almost destroy ourselves with the wrong decisions and choices we make. We may even ask Jesus for help but we don't wait on him. We ask and then we lose patience and act on our own. Woe to us when we turn to "Egypt" for help, when we trust someone else's strength instead of the Lord's.

Our God doesn't need us but he wants us. We have nothing to contribute to him but he can work through us to accomplish a lot for his own glory. He is not trying to mature us into independence. He is growing us into maturity which is complete dependence on him. Anything else is only a pretend relationship. He loves us and wants to see that love completed in us but that isn't going to happen when we are trying to live outside of him. It is time to set aside all notion, action and desire for independence and decide to trust Jesus with every aspect of our lives. No more complaints, resistance, worry, fear, anxiety or stress; just the free flowing river of trust.

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