Depending on God

It’s so easy to fall into pride and self-sufficiency. One of the greatest passages in the Bible on our utter dependance on the Lord is found in 1 Peter…

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:6–10, NKJV)

These verses are great reminders of just how much we must depend on the Lord.  As we look closer at this passage, we find four things for which we must all depend on the Lord…

I.        Depend on God in your sorrows  (v. 6-7)

 Verse six uses a phrase that we don’t hear in church very often today: “the mighty hand of God.”   You see over and over again in the Old Testament, the Bible talks about God’s work in our lives – the things that God brings our way, the things that God allows to happen to us, the things that God teaches us – and it calls all of those things “the mighty hand of God.”  It means different things at different times in your life. Sometimes the mighty hand of God delivers us from trouble, but sometimes the mighty hand of God corrects us when we’re in trouble!  Sometimes we haven’t done anything wrong but the mighty hand of God brings a test into our lives. The mighty hand of God is God’s sovereignty, God’s power, God’s authority over your life and mine. God is in charge.  The mighty hand of God is the hand of God in charge of you.  And the Bible says here that we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt us – in other words, He will lift us up.  Do you need a lift?  Are you going through a hard time?  You can depend on God in your sorrows, but here’s how you do it:  humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.

Think about taking a young child to the mall or across a crowded street.  What do you do?  You hold their hand or you place your hand on their shoulder or the back of their neck. But what do they do? They pull away. They complain. They don’t like it.  Why? Because they want to be INDEPENDENT. They don’t like the way you guide their little life. They think they know what is best.  But they have to learn to humble themselves under the mighty hand of mom! Think about that.  Maybe you are reading this blog right now, and you don’t like how God has guided you. You don’t like where you are in life.  You don’t like how He is leading you. Many of us think we know what God should do in our lives.  The truth is that we must get under God’s mighty hand – humble ourselves and say “Lord, I accept it.”  “Lord, I’m not going to question”  “Lord, I want to be content.”

 Now, let me show you something wonderful.  God does not expect us just to take our medicine in life and like it. He knows we hurt.  Now, we are supposed to humble and submit ourselves to what He is doing, BUT look at verse 7.  When the Bible says to “cast your cares on Him” the Greek word literally means to put that weight onto something else. When you go on vacation, you load your car, van, or SUV up don’t you?  You pack everything but the kitchen sink – especially if you have kids. Question:  How far would you get on vacation if you had to carry everything on your back or in your hands? You will not get very far in life trying to carry all of your burdens, God has unlimited cargo space.  You can load Him up!  You can cry. You can be honest with Him. You can tell Him how you feel. You can depend on God in your sorrows.

 II.        Depend on God for your security  (v. 8-9)

 These next verses talk about something that most of us NEVER think about – our enemy.  Now you may spend a lot of time worrying about your enemies, but verses 8-9 talk about THE Enemy. The devil and what he is up to.  Read verse 8. Let me give you four places that Satan loves to attack:

  • You – he attacks through temptation, through other people, through our mind, wherever there is an open door. He loves to make sure we are discouraged or angry or tired or too busy and preferably all of the above!
  • The family – Please understand, you have a very real enemy that would love nothing better than to destroy your marriage (and he may be well on the way). He would like nothing better than to see your kids and mine self-destruct.
  • Leaders in the Church – We’ve all heard of Godly men who preached the Gospel and influenced so many people, just up and leaving their wife for someone else. We say “How could that happen?”  Satan is attacking the leaders of God’s people.
  • The Church – The churches who will never have to deal with the devil from time to time are those who never preach the Gospel, never pray, and have a form of Godliness but no power. They are no threat to Satan’s Kingdom.

The Bible says that we are in a Spiritual battle and our enemy is real. So what do we do?  Verse 9. Resist him.  How?  Steadfast in the faith.  Know the Word, depend on God. We must depend on God to win the spiritual battles we all face.  He is your Security!

III.        Depend on God for your Salvation  (v. 10)

 Now, if there is one thing that people just naturally want on their own terms, it is their eternal destiny.  Practically no one believes they are going to wind up in Hell. Practically everyone believes that somehow they will make it to Heaven.  And everybody has somehow, in their own mind, rationalized why they are going to Heaven:  “I’m just as good as those people who go to church.”  “I’ve never harmed anybody and I try to help people.”  “Now, Pastor, I was raised in church…”  Do you know what all of those have in common?  The natural human desire to define and control our own destiny.

Let’s see how that squares with what we find in the Bible. Look at verse 10.  “God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus.”  Did you notice how it says that God calls us to eternal life?  “by Christ Jesus.”  Now, we may want to define our own existence, but the truth is that we only really begin to understand who we are when we visit a hill called Golgotha where Christ hung on that cross almost 2000 years ago – when we understand a little of His agony and comprehend exactly WHY every drop of blood was spilled that day.   Christ died for my sins and yours – in our place, paying our debt.  THAT MY FRIENDS, DEFINES OUR EXISTENCE.   You can’t really understand life until you understand the Cross.  The Cross tells us that we can’t make it to Heaven on our own, we must depend on God for our salvation. We must go to the Cross and place our faith in what happened there.

Did you notice that God is “calling” you?  Perhaps you are reading this right now and thinking, “But I’ve done too much, God could never love me.”  God is saying “Come, Come to me right now.”  Someone is saying “But, I put it off years ago and I have lived my way for years, God won’t have me now.”   God is saying “Come on.”  He is calling you!   “But I’m afraid I won’t be good enough”  He is saying come, the ground is level at the foot of the Cross!  Come and depend on God for your salvation, it is the ONLY way!

IV.       Depend on God for your Strength  (v. 10)

At the end of verse 10, Peter moves from what it means to be a Christian, to what happens after we become a Christian.  It says that God will “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”  Those four words are just almost synonyms. They all have the basic idea of becoming strong, stable, and sure.  I love the way the Living Bible puts this “He will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever.”  That’s the idea.  So, AFTER we become a Christian, then God begins this process of strengthening us.

Did you notice how this strengthening comes?  “after you have suffered a while.”  Now the people that Peter was originally writing to were suffering for their faith.  They were suffering unjustly. Many of them had been lied about and lied to.  Maybe your suffering comes another way. You are suffering physically or maybe you are suffering a marriage that causes you great pain.  Maybe you are suffering mentally, so you struggle with depression.  Maybe you are suffering financially or suffering on your job.  Perhaps one reason might be that  God is making you strong in Him!

Why don’t you take a moment and review these ways we each must depend on the Lord?  Remember what happens when we humble ourselves under His mighty hand?  He exalts us – He lifts us up!  Do you need a lift?  The way to get a lift from the Lord is to humble down and depend on Him!

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