Declaring Dependence

Apart from me you can do nothing.—John 15:5  

Laura’s mom was battling cancer. One morning Laura prayed for her with a friend. Her friend, who had been disabled for years by cerebral palsy, prayed: “Lord, you do everything for me. Please do everything for Laura’s mother.”

Laura was deeply moved by her friend’s “declaration of dependence” on God. Reflecting on the moment, she said, “How often do I acknowledge my need for God in everything? It’s something I should do every day!”

During His days on earth Jesus demonstrated continual dependence on His heavenly Father. One might think that because Jesus is God in a human body, He would have the best of all reasons to be self-sufficient. But when the religious authorities asked Him to give a reason for “working” on a legally ordained day of rest because He healed someone on the Sabbath, He responded, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19  ). Jesus declared His dependence as well!

Jesus’s reliance on the Father sets the ultimate example of what it means to live in relationship with God. Every moment we draw breath is a gift from God, and He wants our lives to be filled with His strength. When we live to love and serve Him through our moment-by-moment prayer and reliance on His Word, we are declaring our dependence on Him.

James Banks

I need You for everything, Lord! Help me to live to serve You. I praise You for being my Savior and my strength!

Prayerlessness is our declaration of independence from God. Daniel Henderson

INSIGHT: In John 5  , Jesus had just performed a remarkable miracle by healing a man disabled for thirty-eight years. This feat indisputably established Jesus’s unprecedented power, yet He encountered controversy despite the miracle. When challenged by religious critics, the Lord didn’t grow defensive, as we might have. Nor did He flaunt His great power, though we are often tempted to boast of “our” abilities. Instead, the One who created everything directed attention away from His own remarkable works and toward His heavenly Father (v. 19).

Am I tempted to take credit for my abilities and deeds? Do I feel a need to vindicate myself? When we understand our inherent dependence on God, we are far less likely to boast in our accomplishments or to retaliate in the face of opposition. Tim Gustafson