I twittered about something a few days ago and it generated more of a reaction than I anticipated. This is simply what the tweet said:
The greatest threat to your dependence on God is your current success.
Most of us feel our need for God most deeply when we are up against a big obstacle. Usually it’s because we’re behind. We’re behind financially, behind relationally, trying to get our organization to grow, trying to calm a storm, or just feeling knocked down. God becomes a very necessary part of our problem solving strategy and our prayer life grows. But mostly they’re emergency prayers (God help!) or sometimes a desperate plea to get someone more powerful to leverage his influence in our direction.
I don’t think God minds our prayers in any situation. Dependence is a great thing. It’s just that as soon as the problem is resolved, the organization starts growing, the issue is addressed or the relationship starts to get healthy, God drops out of the picture if we only rely on him for the things we think we can’t solve. The purpose of dependence is not to solve problems. The purpose of dependence is to deepen our trust and confidence in God in every situation.
Here’s what’s at stake when we squeeze our dependence on God out of the good times: if God is only there to solve a problem, then our ‘success’ becomes limited to what we can achieve through our own ability. We seek God’s power to get us to the place we want to be but limit ourselves to what our own ability can achieve when we get there. Kinda dumb as a strategy actually. It’s the perfect way to lose at success.
Why would I ever want our church to cap out at my ability? Why would I ever want my marriage to only be as good as I can make it? Why would I want my leadership to cap out at what I can achieve? Why wouldn’t I want God to shape every moment, not just the desperate ones? Why would I not want my life and your life to be a dance between the grace and power of God and a very flawed Christ-follower?
I want to be the kind of leader who is dependent upon God in the best and worst of times. For me, I think that means I need to lean even harder into God in the good times. It summarizes so well for me with this principle: the greatest threat to my dependence on God is my current success.
What about you? What does that mean for you? Do you struggle with this? In what ways?