Daily Dependence on God
Christians sometimes have knowledge of who Jesus is but lack intimacy with him in their everyday lives. This results in Jesus seeming distant and not present in our struggles. The opposite is true, as we “who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). We have access through the sacrificial blood of Jesus to the Lord, and to walk with him in everyday life. I believe that the Lord wants that for each of us. One of the most critical ways to grow in your relationship with the Lord is through cultivating a daily dependence on him.
Manna From Heaven
One of the clearest examples of daily dependence on the Lord comes from Exodus 16. Israel had just been led out of Egypt, and the Lord had used Moses to part the Red Sea, defeating the army that was chasing them from behind as they marched freely into the wilderness. The people of Israel became hungry and then angry with Moses and the Lord for bringing them out of Egypt to seemingly let them starve in the wilderness. After bringing their complaints to the Lord, he provided a solution.
Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion everyday. – Exodus 16:4
In mercy, the Lord provided them with what they desperately needed. Every morning, the people were able to go out and get as much bread as they needed for that day. God told them, however, that they could not get extra bread for the days ahead, but only enough for that day. Bread that was stored grew worms inside of it and began to stink (Exodus 16:20). This made the Israelites rely on the fresh manna of the Lord every single morning in order for them to survive in the wilderness. They were full from the Lord’s provision, but they hungered for more each day. The Lord faithfully provided this way for 40 years.
Jesus Steps Onto The Scene
The manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness is discussed thousands of years later when Jesus is talking to the crowds that were following him after he performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000 with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. After Jesus was finished telling them that they should believe in him as the one the Lord had sent, they challenged him for a sign, referencing Exodus 16,
So they said to him, Then what sign do you do, that we may see you and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written, He gave them bread from Heaven to eat. – John 6:30-31
Jesus then responds with a statement that no one listening to him can fathom, shocking the whole audience,
I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. – John 6:35
With this, he connects himself to the bread that was provided for all the Israelites and offers himself again to his believers.
What does Jesus being the bread of life mean? If relying on the bread from the Lord was crucial for the Israelites in order to survive in the wilderness, how important is it for us now as believers to rely on the bread of life (Jesus) on a daily basis?
Jesus puts it quite simply, we are not satisfied unless we know and rely on him; we are satisfied once we truly have Jesus in our lives. One key difference of Jesus being our bread is that unlike the experience in Exodus 16, the bread Jesus gives is not physical, it is spiritual. Even though prior to this discourse he did in fact multiply bread to make sure all of the people were fed, the offer that Jesus is giving those who wish to depend on him is the ability to have Jesus satisfy all of their spiritual hungers and desires. We become full and complete in knowing him.
All healthy relationships require growth, and in order to have growth, you need to put intentional time into that relationship. You can’t expect to have a healthy relationship with another if you only see and spend time with them once a week or every other week for a little over an hour. Why do we think that this is a suitable method of growth for our relationship with Jesus? Especially seeing the satisfaction that comes from truly knowing and loving him, we should have a hunger and burning to be with him 24/7, everyday of our lives.
Wanting and achieving are two completely different things. With that in mind we should discuss the question that hinders most believers from moving forward on the path to intimacy with the Lord; “How do I interact with the Lord on a daily basis?”
Start by interacting with the Bible. This is the living and breathing word of God (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible shows all the incredible characteristics of our Lord as well as gives instructions on how to pursue a life that is pleasing to God. When you are able to dive into the word of God and let it begin to transform your heart and your mind, that is when the refining process begins to start (2 Timothy 3:16).
Refining is the process of removing impurities or unwanted elements in order to get to the purest form of an object. The more that we walk in line with the word of God, the more the impure things of our flesh begin to break off of us.
Practically, there are multiple ways of dissecting and spending time in the Bible. One of the more common approaches is to begin reading in the four Gospels of Jesus Christ’s life and then branch out from there. Find a strategy that suits you best.
Prayer is another key aspect of growing in dependency on the Lord. Besides Jesus himself, one of the best examples of someone who was dedicated to prayer was Daniel. When Darius began his rule over the land that Daniel lived in, a decree was passed that “whoever makes a petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king shall be tossed into the Den of Lions” (Daniel 6:7).
Daniel understood that prayer and communion with the Lord was something that was far too valuable to give up. He was known for praying 3 times a day in his house with all the windows open making him visible, and he did not change that when the decree went out (Daniel 6:10). It is no secret that the Lord delivered him from the punishment that was inflicted on him, prayer is that important.
Contrary to what most people believe, prayer is not simply a time to ask of things from our heavenly Father. It is a time that can be spent by offering praise and thanksgiving to the Lord (Psalm 50:14), interceding or praying on behalf of others, as well as repenting for sins that you have committed. Prayer should be something that every believer strives to spend time in as much as possible.
Every Moment of Every Day
Lastly, daily dependence on the Lord reaches new heights when we as believers get to the point where we remember the Lord in everything that we do throughout the day. It could be remembering how good the Lord has been to you while you are at work or listening to worship music or a podcast while on the way to the grocery store. It sometimes can be in the everyday tasks of life where the Lord feels the most present. His Spirit is not limited to a building or a time slot in the day, he is always available and loves to dwell with his people.
Is Daily Dependence on Jesus Works-Based?
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. – Galatians 2:16
Motives are everything when discussing this topic. It is easy for us to develop a “checking the box” mentality when it comes to spending time with the Lord. If we do not have the right posture before the Lord, we will not grow and reap the abundance of fellowship that is available to us. We should seek the Lord with a loving heart that is not coming to him for anything but his presence alone.
This was one of the first challenges I had to tackle when I truly began to seek after Jesus during my junior year in high school. I was eager to pursue the Lord, but I struggled to build the courage to approach him and to know what that would look like on a day to day basis. The practice that started my daily dependence on God was spending time with him on a daily basis. In the beginning, this looked like possibly 5 to 15 minutes a day in the word and praying. As time went on, I began to develop a deeper understanding and love for the Lord, which led me to spend more and more time with him. I believe that this journey of daily dependence was crucial to the growing of my faith.
I hope that this article motivates everyone (including me) to aim to make the Lord a central part of their everyday lives. God is not someone that should only be given attention on Sundays during church and not another thought throughout our weeks. He deserves our praise and devotion all day, every day. We as believers will not always be perfect in doing this, but our efforts to seek after the Lord will always move his heart.