The Christian life is like the Promised Land of the Old Testament. It is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven (Deuteronomy 11:11).
We are always moving up or down a mountain and we are always dependent upon heaven for water. Christianity cannot be separated from dependence upon God. We need Him. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2).
Most Christians will agree with you when you say that faith must begin and end with Jesus. Most will agree that salvation begins and ends with Jesus. Most will agree that grace, redemption and heaven are only possible because of Jesus. Our primary dependence upon the Lord is in the spiritual area of our lives. We worship Him and look to Him as Savior and Lord.
I want to talk about the other side of dependence upon the Lord. We are to depend on Him for our natural lives; for our material lives. For many of us depending on grace is much easier than trusting God for our daily bread. Why is that?
I think for many it comes down to ability and availability. Those of us who believe the gospel understand that our abilities and accomplishments are incapable of making us righteous in the sight of God. In the natural world, however, many of our abilities and accomplishments provide generously for us.
Many times we feel we do have control over our supply and provision when it comes to natural things. Often we wait until times when our ability to provide has been exhausted to turn to the Lord for help. God is always our source. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith as it pertains to our spirit, soul and body. There should be no area in our life that we do not place dependence upon Him.
Think about the areas in your life that produce the greatest levels of stress or worry. Chances are that they have to do with the natural world. It is highly likely your stress producers are related to provision and/or health.
Let’s look at the words of Jesus:
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Your reaction to the reading of that passage of scripture is normally determined by your present circumstances. When everything is going well we give thanks unto the Lord. When everything is going less than desirable we cling to this passage in hope and faith. What is Jesus trying to say?
- Don’t worry
- Your heavenly Father know what your needs are
- Your heavenly Father will take care of you
God knows when my bills are due. God knows the health issues I am facing. God knows what is happening in the lives of my children. God knows the challenges and pressures of my job. God is bigger than I am. He is smarter than I am. He is wiser than I am. He has more resources than I do. He is God and I am just a man.
Someone once said we are only able to inhale because God has first exhaled. Our lives are dependent upon Him. Because of the blood covenant relationship with have with Him our lives have become His responsibility. He has adopted us into His family.
Does this alleviate us from all responsibility? Are we to wait by the river Chebar for a raven to feed us? (1 Kings 17) What does God expect from us?
He expects us to trust Him
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. (Proverbs 3:5-10)
He expects us to obey Him
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
He expects us to work if we are able to
Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
He expects us to tithe and give offerings
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. (Malachi 3:10-11)
He expects us to see Him as our source in all things
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
In the good times, bad times and in between times God is our source. Our Promised Land has mountain tops and deep valleys too. We will not always be on the mountain top; nor will we always be in the valley. God is the same in both places. His love, supply and will remain the same; regardless of our current circumstances.
- Jehovah-Jireh – the God who supplies before there is a need (Genesis 22:14)
- Jehovah-Rapha – the God who heals me (Exodus 15:26)
- Jehovah-Nissi – the God who is my banner of victory (Exodus 17:15)
- Jehovah Rohi – the God who is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
- Jehovah-Shammah – the God who is always with me (Ezekiel 48:35)
You may be facing challenging circumstances that require God to move. His eye is on the sparrow – He is ready to move for you.
You may be leading life as normal – He is still your source (for everything).
Blessed Be Your Name in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow; Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name when I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness; Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord; Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name when the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’, Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering; Blessed be Your name
My challenge to all of us is to make God our source of supply for our natural lives in the same proportion that we depend upon the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ for our spiritual lives.