When I look back at the Damascus Road-type encounter that led me to Christ in 1988, I think of how depending fully on God was the only choice. My need was great, and only through Christ could I find relief from the burden of my sin; only through God could I gain freedom from the consequences of living a wayward life. My initial dependence on God came out of a profound sense of urgency, desperation and need.
As I matured in Christian faith, I learned that depending on God isn’t a one-time event. Certainly the event of first depending on God is foundational to growing in dependence, reliance and abiding with God, but our faith would quickly wane without ongoing personal intimacy with him.
My constant posture must be one of dependence on God; it’s the backbone that holds me upright. Not my own strength. Not my intelligence or my hard work. My dependence on God.
How Can We Depend on God?
It’s much easier to trust God to do the miraculous than it is to trust him to do the mundane. We often think, “Of course I need God to secure my salvation, but why would I bother him with my confusion or frustration? He has bigger things to handle!”
The underlying question is this: Can we truly, wholly depend on God?
Absolutely! We can trust God because his character is faultless and true. His perfect nature is evident in the person of Jesus Christ and through the Bible, his living Word. God has also given us, through the Bible and testimonies of others, personal and collective experiences that prove his reliability and faithfulness.
Because of God’s Word, we know that he is:
- Eternal: He is immortal and infinite. He had no beginning and his existence will never end. (Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 90:2, 1 Timothy 1:17)
- Immutable: He is unchanging. Therefore he is perfectly reliable, faithful and trustworthy. (Malachi 3:6, Numbers 23:19, Psalm 102:26-27)
- All-powerful: He is the sovereign creator and sustainer of all things. He can do anything that pleases him in accordance with his character. He is incomparable and unequaled. (Revelation 19:6, Jeremiah 32:17, 27, 2 Samuel 7:22, Psalm 86:8, Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 40:25-26)
- Always present: He is present everywhere, never preoccupied or absent. (Psalm 139:7-13, Jeremiah 23:23-24)
- All knowing: He knows the past, present and future, including what we are thinking and experiencing at any given moment. (Psalm 139:1-5, Proverbs 5:21, Matthew 5:48)
- Completely righteous and just: He is without flaw or sin; he is altogether perfectly holy. Because he knows everything, his justice will always be administered fairly and appropriately. He makes no mistakes! (Psalm 99:9, Deuteronomy 32:4, Isaiah 40:28, Romans 2:11)
- Infinitely loving: His boundless love includes goodness, kindness, mercy and grace. Without God’s grace, God’s holiness would exclude us from his presence. Thankfully he wants a personal relationship with each of us, and because he loves us he made the way for reconciliation through Jesus! (Exodus 34:6, Psalm 31:19, 1 Peter 1:3, John 3:16, 17:3)
Only he knows exactly what we need, and his love for us knows no depths!
When we consider all of this, our natural response should be an ongoing, active, utter dependence on the living God.
Depending on God For Our Mission
To be united as a body of believers in one mission, we must depend on God to provide the miraculous — all people with access to his Word in a language and format that speaks to their hearts.
Wycliffe USA’s mission — “to serve with the global body of Christ to advance Bible translation and work together so people can encounter God through his Word” — is a vital part of realizing the Great Commission. As an organization dedicated to this mission, we cannot depend on our own energy, resources and plans. Instead our dependence should be on God alone. Jesus reminds us in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (NIV).
Because we know reaching the unreached with the gospel is God’s mission and the work he has put before us, and because we have confidence that God is true to his character and promises, we must hold fast to this core value: “Depend on God, pray with expectation and trust him for all aspects of Bible translation around the world.”
Only by depending on God can we bear fruit. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).
Depending on God: Our Response
Each morning as I walk across the parking lot on my way into Wycliffe’s headquarters in Orlando, I am overwhelmed by the powerful sense of privilege and responsibility I have of contributing to the Bible translation movement. There’s no way I can fulfill my calling by trusting in my own strength, energy, creativity and wisdom. The task is too big for me; the larger task is too big for us to accomplish by our own strength.
How should we respond?
- Remember that our roles are spiritual callings and apart from God, we can do nothing.
- Abandon our wills and depend on God’s resources (committed people, financial resources, partnerships/relationships, etc.) to accomplish this work.
- Seek the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, strength and wisdom each day.
- Pray without ceasing as we abide in Christ and listen for his guidance.
- Give God the glory for all that’s accomplished each day.
- Give thanks to God for the privilege we have because he chose us.
Let’s recommit ourselves, our efforts and our posture of dependence before the Lord because we have confident assurance, through the truth of his character, that he has been and will continue to be faithful and true!
Watch this video from Wycliffe USA missionaries Jon and Cindi Hampshire to hear about how they depend on God as they serve in the Congo.