Would you consider yourself self-sufficient? Most people would say yes, because from childhood through adulthood, culture teaches us to be self-sustaining individuals. Cultural expectation encourages and rewards self-effort for life’s physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs. In fact, people experiencing hardship who then rely on someone or something else for these life essentials are perceived as weak and failures. Is this really the life Jesus models for His followers — a life of self-reliance?

Throughout Scripture, prophets, priests, and kings experience hardship yet humbly acknowledge their personal shortcomings. Inevitably, their greatest triumphs come from relying on and applying God’s will and Word. In John 5, when Jewish leaders confront Jesus about healing on the Sabbath, He humbly declares that He can do nothing except reiterate and model His Father. Jesus is modelling intimacy ― a relationship of total reliance on the Father in word and deed.

God knows that life brings hardship. Trials and tribulations are an unavoidable rite of passage. However, when these things happen, we can experience relational intimacy with our Lord. It is what He wants for us. While his disciples slept, Jesus prayed, “…you are in me… I am in you… May they also be in us” (John 17:21-23). We can boldly and bravely assume a spiritual posture of intimacy and reliance on our heavenly Father for every need. There is no shame or weakness in seeking spiritual sustenance by petitioning the name that provides provision, protection, and perseverance for life’s ongoing journey.

Dear Heavenly Father and Lord, thank you that you desire an ongoing intimate relationship with me, despite life’s trials and tribulations. Even when I experience hardship, you are willing and waiting for me to fully rely on your provision. Help me to set aside any pride and to surrender self and to understand that when I am weak, I am strong, because you are with me and for me. In Jesus name, amen.

Go Deeper — Throughout your day, contemplate these questions: Do I live life relying on self-effort? Does my lack of dependence on God affect my relational intimacy with Him? At the end of your day, journal and assess your thoughts.

Tags: dependence John 5