WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 20, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T LIVE INDEPENDENTLY OF GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 New King James Version).
God has not created human beings to live independently of Him but they can choose to. He has not designed human beings to live separately from Him. When God put the man in the Garden of Eden, He gave man instructions on what he was allowed to do and what was forbidden. Adam and Eve were not supposed to live independently of Him. Unfortunately, they chose to when they listened to the serpent and disobeyed God.
Genesis 3:4-7 says, “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (New King James Version).
This was the beginning of man’s rebellion against God, the commencement of living independently of God. Many people still live independently of God, doing what they like. They live in disobedience to God. Isaiah 53:6a says all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way. But God laid our iniquity on Jesus to save us at Calvary and reconcile us to Himself.
Sinners who are yet to come to Jesus and disobedient Christians are guilty of living independently of God. Also, it is possible to claim to be a Christian and be guilty of this. Natural maturity by human beings means less dependence on one’s parents, but spiritual maturity means more dependence on God.
The prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, separated from his father to live independently of him after receiving prematurely his share of the father’s property. He travelled to a far country where he wasted his possessions with prodigal living. He suffered needlessly because of his foolish decision. He returned home thereafter after so much suffering. Thank God his father was still alive to welcome him back home.
To live independently of God is to live for yourself, live without obeying the Word of God, or live freely without concern and respect for the will of God. It is to do what seems right in your eyes as the Israelites did in the days of the Judges. The Bible says in those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25). But the Bible says there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
To live independently of God means to do what pleases you, not what pleases God. It could also mean to displease God and please men. Paul told the Galatians, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 New King James Version).
Romans 8:8 says those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Also, Hebrews 11:6a says it is impossible to please God without faith. A Christian’s walk ought to be different from that of the unbelievers. Paul taught the Thessalonians how they ought to walk and please God. “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 New King James Version).
God wants us to live dependent on Him. All things were created by Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:17). Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created” (New Living Translation).
As Paul said at Athens, in Him (God) we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28a). Understand that you were created to depend on God, not on yourself or something else. God is your natural habitat. In Him, you should live, move, and have your being.
If you’re not yet born again, you should give your life to Jesus. This is the beginning of living dependently on God. You were not meant to live your life apart from God. Don’t live without Christ. Don’t continue to be alienated from God. After you’ve given your life to Jesus, receive and follow the teachings of Christ. But if you’ve already given your life to Jesus, yield the control of your life the Holy Spirit; don’t live like an unbeliever.
Paul told the Corinthian Christians who were not yet living up to their position in Christ, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 New King James Version).
In other words, these Christians were living as sinners did, not living as God expected – a life devoid of envy, strife, divisions. They followed the dictate of the sinful nature, not the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13 New King James Version).
Those who live independently of God live as if there is no God – as if they created themselves. They behave as if the Word of God does not exist. They don’t follow the standards of God, but theirs. Unlike Jesus Christ, they do their own will, not God’s will. “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner’” (John 5:19 New King James Version).
In verse 30, He said, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (New King James Version). Jesus didn’t live independently of God. He did His will; He did what pleases Him.
John 8:28-29 says, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (New King James Version).
Those who live independently of God don’t bother about doing the will of God. They are self-willed. But Jesus emphasized the importance of the will of God being done on earth in the Lord’s Prayer. He said, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 New King James Version).
As I have said, those who profess to be Christians could also be guilty of living independently of God although they are busy serving in the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version).
Practising lawlessness means breaking God’s law, being an evildoer, disregarding God’s command. He never knew them; it wasn’t that He didn’t know them! All the time they were busy doing all they did, Jesus never knew them. Heaven didn’t accept their service. Jesus said in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (New King James Version). He said further in verse 27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (New King James Version). Those who live independently of God don’t know His voice or follow Him.
In Matthew 25:12, the foolish virgins were also rejected. The bridegroom said he did not know them. In verse 41, the wicked (those on the left hand) were told, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (New King James Version). God knows those who are His. Are you His own or are you living independently of Him? 2 Timothy 2:19 says, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’” (New King James Version).
You should live dependently on God. Don’t separate from God. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 New King James Version). Any branch separated from the vine withers. It becomes useless and is burnt.
Abide in Christ; abide in His Word. Follow His standards; don’t set your own. The apostle John says, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9 New King James Version).
Live dependently on God. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Those who live independently of God hardly pray to commit their ways into the hand of the Lord. They feel that it is their life and they can do whatever they like. If they pray, it is to ask Him to rubber-stamp their desire. They don’t consider His guidance as important. But Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (New King James Version).
Don’t live independently of God. Remember, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:1-2 New King James Version).
Always depend on the Lord, not yourself, strength, finances, connections, etc. Avoid a mindset of self-sufficiency. Paul said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6 New King James Version). In Philippians 4:13, Paul said he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him.
Acknowledge that you’re mortal and your life depends on God. Don’t talk or act arrogantly as if you’re God. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16 New King James Version).
Whatever your work is or goals are, don’t live independently of God. Psalm 104:21 says, “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God (New King James Version). Although the young lions roar after their prey, they search for their food from God. The New Living Translation renders it thus: “Then the young lions roar for their food, but they are dependent on God.” Depend on God for your provision, success, etc. Don’t be carried away by whatever you have.
The prophet Isaiah said concerning the returning remnant of Israel, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth” (Isaiah 10:20 New Living Translation). In other words, the Jews that would be left after the Assyrian invasion would no longer depend on the Assyrians for help. Don’t live independently of God; depend absolutely on Him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of living independently of you in the past. Forgive me. Help me Holy Spirit to depend absolutely on God and not myself, anyone else, or anything. I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways I will acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths. Holy Spirit, help me to abide in the doctrine of Christ.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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