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Fri Apr 18, 2014
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Developing Dependence on God
Am I living in dependence on God?
For many of us, answering this question is a difficult task. We often do not know if we are living with dependence on God because we are disengaged from our hearts. Here are some questions (with verses to meditate on) that we can ask ourselves to help us discern the orientation of our hearts:
- Which do I want more: to know God, or to achieve for God? (Philippians 3:10, Exodus 33:13, 1 Timothy 4:6-10)
- When was the last time I experienced a prompting of the Holy Spirit? (John 4:7-19 Acts 16:6-10)
- Am I consistently being convicted of sin in my life? (Hebrews 12:5-11, John 16:7-8, 2 John 3:9)
- Am I consistently accepting my acceptance by God through Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:17, 5:21)
- Where do my thoughts go when I am not forced to think about anything? (Psalm 63:1-4)
There is no nice, neat, tidy formula for developing dependence on God. The best way forward is to cultivate a desire to know and experience God more deeply. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician and theologian. He was the father of the scientific method that is still employed today, some 300 hundred years after his death. At the age of 31, he had an intense experience of God’s presence. Many of us are averse to emotional experiences with God because of our temperament and/or past spiritual abuses. The problem is that God demands to meet you not just in your mind or will, but in your affections.
Dependence until the end
Pascal, who was not prone to over-emotion, never spoke of his life-altering experience to anyone, but he did write a short journal entry about it, which he then sewed into his coat so that he would always be reminded of it. This letter, later published after Pascal’s death and titled the Memorial, is an encouragement for us to seek God and welcome him into our affections.
An excerpt from Pascal’s Memorial:
In the year of grace 1654, Monday 23 November….
From about half-past ten in the evening till about half an hour after midnight.
God of Abraham. God of Isaac. God of Jacob.
Not of the philosophers and the learned.
Certainty. Joy. Certainty. Emotion. Sight. Joy.
Forgetfulness of the world and of all outside of God….
The world has not known thee, but I have known thee.
Joy! Joy! Joy! Tears of joy….
My God, will you leave me? Let me not ever be separated from you.
This post is adapted from Darrin Patrick's book Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission.