For most of us, there’s nothing more appealing than the idea of being independent. But what if there’s a better way to live our lives? What if faith is less about being independent and more about realizing our own dependency on God and others? Check out this excerpt from the You’ve Heard It Said Bible Plan, and find more conversations about faith on the You’ve Heard It Said podcast.
Most of us pride ourselves on our ability to solve our own problems and to avoid needing others—basically, to live a DIY kind of life. For example, if we don’t know how to do something, we watch a YouTube tutorial. If we have a question about something, we research it on the internet until we find an answer. If we’re struggling with something, we’ll often listen to a podcast, find a sermon, or distract ourselves with a binge-worthy TV series or endless social media scrolling.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those coping mechanisms, they’re all things we can do alone, and rarely do those things inspire us to reach out to others around us. The thing is, we have more information and content available to us than we could ever hope to consume. And while it’s great to be informed, we have to recognize that consuming information in isolation rarely leads to transformation. So we can’t allow our consumption of information to outpace our connection with others.
The truth is, following Jesus is a journey of surrendering our self-sufficiency and recognizing our need for a Savior. No matter how hard we try to be good enough, to work hard enough, or to gain enough material resources, wealth, or wisdom—we will always fall short of God’s standard—perfection (see Romans 3:23-24).
To follow Jesus is to admit that we don’t have it all together, but that there is One who holds everything together—including us. We can’t live a life fully surrendered to Jesus while also idolizing independence. We need God, and we also need others to help us live a life that honors God.
When we’re feeling worried or anxious about the weight and demands of life, we often try to fix it ourselves or find the solution on our own. But Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28-29 to come to Him to surrender our worries. It’s only then that we’ll discover we don’t actually have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders after all.
And as for needing others? Jesus modeled this with His life by choosing to invest His life intentionally in 12 people—His disciples. And He instructed us to do the same. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us that when multiple people gather together, He is right there among us. And in Matthew 9:38, Jesus invites us to pray for more workers to do the good things God has planned for the world. See, the more we try to solve our own problems and fix everything on our own, the less we’re allowing the Church to be the body of Christ.
When we’re trying to solve everything, we can’t solve anything, because God has given each of us a unique role to play in sharing God’s love with others. We need each other.
Following Jesus isn’t about what we can do. It’s all about what He did. And our appropriate response is to continue to give up control, to depend on God instead of ourselves, and to recognize our need for others.