You can love someone and not really need them in your life all the time, right? We all have those people in life whom we love, but we don’t really need to depend on them constantly. We work things out on our own, but they are always there when we need them. In the self-reliant phase, this is how we treat God. We love him, but we don’t use him for anything. We only use him when we realize that we are in trouble or when there is something we can’t do on our own. That has to change. Leaving the self-reliant phase means depending on God and loving him at all times, even when it seems like we don’t need him (which is completely false because we need him all the time!!)
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)
Depending on God means following Deuteronomy 6:5. We need to love God with all our heart and soul. It’s not something that we can choose to do, but something that we must do each and every day. We must love God and know what his love is to us. His love allowed Jesus to die for our sins. His love is keeping his hand in our lives even when we don’t ask him to.
Dependence is necessary because it’s an opportunity for us to see firsthand what God’s grace looks like. God can exceed our expectations, but only if we depend on him to. If we believe that we can do it ourselves, we will not be able to release the full potential in ourselves or the full potential in our relationship with God. It all starts with making ourselves available. We don’t have to be perfect, just available.
When we make ourselves available, we can become the branches that are attached to God. John 15 shows us the perfect example of what it looks like to make ourselves available.
"You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15: 3-5 (NIV)
We can't grow unless we are attached to something. When trees are first planted. They are pretty weak. They have to be attached to a wooden stick that's planted in the ground along with it. They depend on that stick until they are strong enough to do it on their own. I think sometimes we treat God like this. We need him for a certain season and we depend on him until we think we can handle it on our own and then we let go until we need him again.
While trees leave the dependent stage, we don't. Like trees, we have God always holding on to us through every phase of life. Even when he is silent, God is still there, holding our hand. We should be grateful that we constantly have his love and grace to fall back on in any situation.
The important thing to remember is that we need to remain in God’s love. If we don’t remain in his love and start drifting back to what we can do, it makes God unnecessary. Then we can no longer bear fruit. When you choose to leave God and do things on your own, you become independent and that seems cool, but you will never be able to bear the true fruit of your calling.