Not too long ago, I was doing some self-assessments. And I realized that although I spend a great deal of time in the scriptures, I am often looking for content. I am like those baleen whales that suck in tons of sea water, spit it out through their teeth and the stuff left inside is nourishment. Truth is, my study time can be pretty cerebral.
Nothing wrong with that, but like many of you, I long to deepen my relationship with the Lord. And I realized what I need is a strengthening of the emotional and thoughtful side of my study.
Kelli Trujillo, an editor with Christianity Today, spoke of this issue. She said, “Our problem is that we assume prayer (and I would add, Bible Study) is something to master the way we master algebra or auto mechanics. That puts us in the ‘on top’ position, where we are competent and in control. But when praying (and reading) we come ‘underneath’ where we calmly and deliberately surrender control. Prayer (and other spiritual disciplines) invites us into dependence…”
Dependence is not embraced in our culture. Everyone wants to be John Wayne sauntering through life with a swagger. We tend to wear masks that shout that we are fine and dandy. We are ‘on top’ of things.
But then the bottom falls out. There is a death in the family or someone losses their job. A doctor calls with a very lousy diagnosis. Or one of our children goes sideways. Suddenly we are not in a prime position. Suddenly we feel great need.
Wouldn’t it be better for us to lean into our dependence on the Lord; to grow a sense of companionship when things are ok? I am convinced that dependence is a learned trait. We have to practice it.
So maybe this week, let’s all keep doing the right things (reading, studying, praying, giving, fasting and so on) but let’s all make sure we are doing all those things for the right reason and with the right motive. We draw closer to Him as we keep our eyes on the Lord (Ps. 16:8). And ultimately, that dependence assures that “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart…” (Ps. 73:26)
Dependence isn’t a dirty word for the believer. Like electric cars, we just need regular “plug ins” to assure our “tanks” stay full!