Monday, March 9, 2015

Lean on God Alone

The Word of God exhorts us to trust in God and not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). There is also another very powerful and familiar portion of Scripture which is often and widely quoted on the same topic:
“This is what the Lord says: The man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed. He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives. The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8 HCSB).
Encouragement to Depend on God

We intend to be brief in this article and to share some real experiences on this subject for your encouragement. The Lord Jesus Christ is aware of the many sufferings that Christians who just don’t have enough faith to receive help from Him are undergoing (Hebrews 4:15). Their suffering stems from panic and fear, leading them to be dependent on men instead of on the Lord (Genesis 3:10). If we will literally denounce our dependence on the arm of flesh and choose to trust in the Lord, He is true to His promises to "… never leave you or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5 HCSB). Furthermore, if you have a solid faith in God and are not shaken by fear and panic, you are guaranteed deliverance, provisions and protection (Psalm 125:1). The Bible clearly states: “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Brethren, we must recall that the Christian journey is based on faith and the ‘evidence’ or proof of our faith is God’s response in the natural to our prayer requests (2 Corinthians 5:7; Mark 11:24). Let us examine a few Scriptures about some people who literally trusted in God for protection and provisions.

Godly Counsel in Needy Times

When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gave an urgent order to execute the wise men, Daniel did not panic in fear; instead he and his companions trusted and sought God to provide a way out (Daniel 2:14-19).

When King Hezekiah was threatened by Sennacherib, he did not go and make a treaty with some foreign army like King Asa did (2 Chronicles 16:7-9). Instead, he went to the Lord in prayer and the Lord was faithful to help him (2 Kings 19:1-7).

When the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab, the Bible says "They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him" (1 Chronicles 5:18-21).

Furthermore, King David, when he was fleeing from Saul, did not take matters into his own hand to fight Saul; he sought Godly counsel in prayer and followed God’s plan and fled (1 Samuel 23:12; Proverbs 15:22).

Likewise, our Lord Jesus when He was being arrested by the Roman soldiers did not depend on the swords of His disciples, but He trusted in God (Matthew 26:50-53).

Dependence on Men and Ourselves Yields Cursing

You may have heard someone make one of these popular statements: "Believe in yourself" or "Trust in yourself". These statements, while they may sound encouraging, are not true. God has not called us to believe in ourselves, but to believe in Jesus Christ (John 6:29). Likewise God has not called us to trust in ourselves or man, but only in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 17:5). Jesus said: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63). We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).

People in the Bible who trusted in themselves and ungodly ideas of men received curses rather than blessings. When King Rehoboam chose to take the bad advice of his young friends, Israel rebelled against Him (2 Chronicles 10:10-19). When Nabal chose to return evil for good by not acting in kindness to King David, the Lord struck Him down and he died (1 Samuel 25:5-38). When King Ahab chose to listen to his wife Jezebel’s wicked advise to kill Naboth and take his vineyard, he was promised disaster for his family (1 Kings 21: 17-24). Likewise, when King David relied on his own power and authority to get rid of Uriah the Hittite and take his wife Bathsheba, the Lord promised to raise evil against him from his own household (2 Samuel 12:7-12). Therefore, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

The reason we should not just trust in ourselves is clear: Its is because "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9). Truth can only be found in Jesus (John 14:6), not self.

Dependence on the Flesh Yields Frustration

Having being very weak in my faith and walk with the Lord after my conversion in 1990, like most new Christians when the reality of test appeared I was quick to blame the Lord, saying “this is not working!” and “God is not answering my prayers!”. As I matured in my faith, I only realised later that I sounded rather demanding; I lacked humility and faith according to Scripture which says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Brethren, such a position could prove to be very dangerous as it could lead us abandoning our faith based of ignorance and wrong perceptions. As it is, over the years I have learnt to employ faith, patience and humility to win God’s favour, for the Lord is not moved by our ‘quick, urgent’ demanding attitude (Isaiah 40:31). As we mentioned in the Patience: An Essential Fruit to Inherit God's Promises article, the fruit of patience slows us down and helps focus on God's salvation and deliverance, leading to God's blessings and a fulfillment of His promises (Hebrews 6:15). The joy of receiving answer to prayer is best recalled when we consider the (scars) suffering and patient endurance. I tell you, consistent prayer might appear irksome, but it shows trust, endurance and patient faith (Luke 18:1-8). It delights the Lord when we show faith and dependence on Him. In a message to me recently, I sensed the Lord’s joy when He appraised my faith and in His good pleasure He granted my request. Hallelujah!

In 1991, when I got retrenched from my first formal job, I had my first taste of frustration as a Christian. I had no income and the pressure to pay rent led me to various decisions including failed attempts at finding a job. After experiencing a few months of frustrations and disappointments, a brother whom I truly regard as a faithful mentor in Christ advised me to go on a fast for a few days and stop my dependence on people, including some Christians who were reluctant to help. After a three-day fast, the Lord opened a door of employment for me, ending my dependence on men. Similarly, a friend told me that he failed his motor car drivers test twice because he was depending on the ‘mercy’ of the officer to overlook his mistakes. He failed twice, but on his third attempt he decided to fully trust in the Lord, after having gone on a fast, his prayer was answered and the Lord blessed him with his driver’s license.

Similarly, when I was unable to provide for my family and pay our mortgage, I relied on many people for help, including my former pastor. Their empty promises led to frustrations, even to the point of causing conflict at home.  In desperation, I decided to go on a fast for seven days, giving myself literally to God. After seeing my position of humility and helplessness, the faithful God answered my prayers and provided the means that I needed. Likewise, our ministry members have received many breakthroughs and answered prayers from the Lord in making tough choices or decisions, needing ideas, healing, jobs, finances, changed attitudes, deliverance from demonic spirits and tough situations, etc. as they looked to God for help by faithfully praying and fasting.

This is what the Bible says:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).
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).
 Call on Me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:15)
Therefore, put your trust and faith in God’s hands, and He will not overlook your situation as many think He does. God knows your anxious thoughts and CARES FOR YOU (Psalm 139:2; 23; 1 Peter 5:7). The Word also says: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).

Finally, we must remember our attitude when asking; it must be submissive, and not demanding or basing our faith on some formulated dogma. I have known a Christian lady who, while laying on her sick bed, desired the prayers of her pastor and did not have faith in her own prayers for healing. She died, not receiving healing because her dependence was the faith of her pastor and not on God’s ability and promises to heal her. This is the unfortunate situation of many Christians; their dependence is on man; they like piggybacking on others. Like we said in the article Prayer: The Key to All Problems, it is good to ask for prayers in agreement from others, but the Lord Jesus encourages us to trust Him and pray for ourselves. This is pleasing and builds our faith in Him.

In conclusion, make today a turning point in your faith and put your full dependence on the Lord. If you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please get started by praying this suggested Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed grace,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.