Relying on God

Christians talk about “relying on God” in all the circumstances of life. What does this mean to you?

When we Christians face difficult circumstances, it’s easy to understand our need to yield control to God. But at the other extreme, even committed Christians routinely handle the mundane activities of life, such as dressing, driving to work, and doing laundry, without requesting God’s involvement.

How and where do you draw the line between the things that you can do “on your own” and those for which you need to rely on God?

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4 responses to “Relying on God

  1. I’m not sure I “rely on God”. Rather I choose to have faith that He keeps his promises. Matt 6 and Phil 4 tell us not to worry about anything but instead to have faith that God provides what we need. I don’t draw any line. I simply trust that he is God and he is Good. You can’t compartmentalize God into segments of life. He provided my clothes which I wear and wash. He provided my food that makes my dishes dirty that I wash. He gives me grace to get through the trials that come and the faith to pray for healing, protection, love, forgiveness – even more faith. Peter asked in Mark 4 during the storm, “Don’t you care…?” Jesus’ response was, “Don’t you have faith?” Later in I Peter 5:7 Peter says, “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.” Somewhere between Mark and 1 Peter, Peter learned not to worry but to cast his cares on the only one who truly cares.

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    • Is “having faith in God” just another way of saying “relying on God”? If you have a house payment due, and not enough money for it, and you believe without question that God has put you in this situation for a reason, you have faith that He will provide for that need. But if you need a tube of toothpaste, and have a dollar in your pocket, you just buy it–no exercise of faith (or no sense of “relying”) required. I know you don’t consciously draw a line or divide your life into “God required” and “God optional” boxes, but in practice, don’t we all do that to some extent, even if unconsciously? If so, does that constitute a (sinful) lack of faith? And if it does, how do we stop committing that sin? How do we do all the mundane activities of life “in faith” or “in reliance” on God?

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  2. I looked up definitions for rely and I guess it does / can mean the same thing as having faith in something/someone but my own personal reaction to the phrase “rely on” tends to be more in the physical or human sense. I tend to think of it in a temporal way – I relied on my car to get me to Torrance and back but it could have easily broken down (as did Emily’s car the other night on her way home from work – it now sits dead in our garage…). I rely on the scheduler at the doctor’s office to work out the date, time and insurance precertification for my surgery but if I don’t hear back from her in a timely manner, I call to check on it. Because she is busy and human, I don’t completely trust her to not forget or overlook my file. So in my mind, relying on someone or something is less sure than faith. But that is my own perception. I do note that the word “rely” is used 19 times in the NIV but when I did a very quick word study I wasn’t convinced of that it was the best word to use – but I am no scholar in that field!

    Regarding my faith in God and truth, we’ve been going through the book of Ephesians with a group from our church and I decided to listen to a series of sermons Eddie Larkman (pastor of Corsham Baptist Church) did on the armor of God. Yesterday I listened to the belt of truth. He talked about how the belt helps hold things together, in a sense, and when we have the truth of God’s word holding us together we can stand up against the devil’s lies. I hadn’t thought about it before like that exactly but it is true. When I hold on to the truth that God is good and he is love and he is more powerful than cancer or anything else, the lies that Satan might try to feed me don’t affect me. But we cannot wear the belt of truth unless we own it as our own which requires reading and hearing God’s word. A powerful reminder indeed.

    Regarding your example of relying on God for the mortgage payment vs a tube of toothpaste, I have 30+ years of living “by faith” in that we do not receive a guaranteed salary every month. We do rely on our supporters to give an amount that they have promised they would give and most times they do. Sometimes they don’t. They forget. The money gets put into someone else’s account. They die. They get laid off and aren’t able anymore to give. Sometimes they (or someone new) randomly gives an extra amount which we weren’t expecting. So our deposit every month is different but that doesn’t change the fact that God is good and He is love and He has promised to give us our daily bread and other needs. So when the deposit comes in, we thank God for what is there and acknowledge that he has given us what we need for that month. We have never been without our needs. We have gone without our “wants” – a night at the theater, a new dress, even a better car or bigger place to live. Case in point, years ago we had a huge financial need but we didn’t tell anyone. We simply presented it to God, ate more beans, etc and each month the bill came, we had enough money in our account to pay it. It didn’t necessarily come from supporters and I wouldn’t even say it was “miraculous” – God just enabled us to have the money at the right time. Because we know each month that it is only by God’s grace that we have money to buy toothpaste, using your example, I don’t spend money easily. I do, through habit, think before I buy (and I sometimes put things back on the shelf or return them) if it is really needed this month and if it is a good use of this month’s provision. But if the money is there we do indulge on a night out occasionally – which could also be seen as a need perhaps.

    One of the first verses I memorized as a kids was Col 3:17: Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God. This is what I believe worship is: living every part of my life for His glory. When I have complete faith in Him, I bring him glory and I am worshiping him. To me it is also what the Bible calls “abiding” in him. Do I always do this or think of it consciously? No, I am human like everyone else. But that is my life goal.

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    • It seems that, for whatever reason, we understand the connotations of “rely” a little differently. But no matter.

      Regardless of the terminology, what I’m thinking about is the distinction between those situations that we as Christians have no choice but to allow God to deal with (because they are clearly beyond our capabilities), and the little everyday things that we just naturally do without a second thought. These are the extremities of a range of activities, and somewhere between them we shift modes, probably unconsciously, on how we deal with them.

      I’m wondering if that mode-shifting is appropriate, especially in the light of commands like the one you cited: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.” Should we be more conscious of God’s involvement or presence in those mundane activities, and if so, how do we make or allow that to happen?

      In principle, we Christians are supposed to have committed every aspect of our lives to God’s authority and control. But how do we do that realistically in the down-to-earth, everyday minutiae of life?

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