Growing More God-Reliant In Faith

Growing More God-Reliant In Faith

Sister Miki Terayama - 14 February 2021

Weekend Devotion: Growing More God-Reliant In Faith

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We, by our human nature, have a tendency to rely on something. It could be to rely on another person, rely on certain successes or outcomes, relying on our finances as a form of security and many more. And even in church, we may also become reliant on our Pastors, cell group leaders and brethren’s love and responses to us. However, unless our reliance is placed in the Lord and Lord alone, we will be met with many hurts, troubles, disappointments and unnecessary issues, because when we, who are limited, rely on another limited source, we will not be satisfied and fully assured. And even as we encouraged and strengthened by the words or advices from our brethren, church leaders and pastors, it is all to lead us back to relying on our Great Shepherd, the Lord. So relying on God is not just a moment of needing Him in our distress and seeing things resolve eventually. It is a lifetime process of following Him, being more and more in sync with His footsteps. How do we follow His steps? We need to be coached by His truth, so that we know how to be guided by His Word in all our judgments, choices and thoughts. This is the only way we can follow Him and rely on Him in all things. It is not about using our own will or lip service, saying that “I must rely on God!” To rely on God is to have His Word within our hearts. And how can we be brought into reliance of God? When all your own strength has been exhausted, without any of our own power left, that is when we can be brought to rely on a greater power than our own. To be counselled and led by God’s convictions.

Why do we need to rely on God?

But first, let us talk about why is there a need for us to rely on God? Because some might think, “I have been doing fine even when I have not been so reliant on God”, “I have found my own solutions and it has worked to my benefit so far. So what is the big deal about relying on God? It does not seem so needful right now?”

Now the need to rely on God is not just for people who are going through big problems, unresolvable issues or a dire plight. We all need to be God-reliant right now. Why?

1. The present era is increasingly evil.
Because firstly, as the bible warns us, the present era is increasingly evil. Men are going further away from God and leading an increasingly sinful life. Many are freely sinning, continually sinning and not seeing sin as it is. Thus, there are so many humanistic movements going on and even flowing into the churches, influencing the message and hearts of believers. And these worldly voices and information are always surrounding us, 24/7, on the internet, our phones and just marketed everywhere to people. The truth is, people find it hard to let go of it as well. Like it has formed a deep seated addiction within us, that distracts us from seeing the real state of the times we are in. But we don’t see this: Our environment will never allow us true peace with its mixed and shifting beliefs, that is why we have to turn our reliance to God.

2. Some trials cannot be resolved over night.
The next reason we need to rely on God is because many trials in life are not immediately resolvable. Our God is a loving and merciful one. So sometimes, He may allow certain issues to be quickly settled, while some He let it remain on as a refinement process for us. Like some of us are sick and with the intercession of brethren, they quickly recover. Then there are some who have recurring, chronic pain and ailments. If we choose to rely only on the solutions of the world or some mystical healing methods, we will only come back with disappointments and despair. So instead of wrecking our brains for ways to heal, we could really start asking where is God’s greater grace in this? How can I rely on God in this? Not just for illnesses, even broken relationships in the family, how we nurture our children, there are many things that cannot be settled quickly. But as we do so in reliance to God, our perseverance, our love, our patience, how we have self-control and faithfulness, God gives us added strength and grace to do so, through those challenges. If we always have our problems resolved quickly, we will not grow in spiritual resilience or stand against the bigger storms that come our way. We will be easily influenced by words of men and devoured by the worldly circumstances. Therefore, we really need to rely on God and be trained up in spirit as we go through the long-standing trials in life.

3. Certain areas in life that requires breakthrough

Now, another reason we have to rely on God is because everyone of us have a certain area that needs breakthrough. However, it can be very difficult, especially when we have habits or nature that is hard to change. We are all sinners but the way we develop certain bondages and the depth of our sins may be different due to our characters, environment and experiences.  And the worst part of this is that it influences you so much that you often feel accused, affecting your life, your relationship with people and with God, causing a huge gap in your faith living. This could be a temper that we have causing us to easily hurt others and lacking in love. Or very bad time management like watching shows or using our phones late into the night, which causes us lack of sleep and not being productive during the day. Now, the fact is, these bondages will not just go away miraculously. Now, I am a person that really does not like to exercise at all, and there was a period of time I really persevered to jog twice a week. But this is not a success story because I have stopped jogging altogether after a month of doing so, and even now, I am still struggling to get on an exercise routine. So when it comes to building a physical training, it is already so difficult, what more our spiritual training, right? So to really receive staggered and gradual breakthroughs in our lives, we really need to consistently and unceasingly turn our reliance on God, the source of inexhaustible grace and help.

How to rely on God?

So now that we know the needs to rely on God, how do we do so? Now we can learn from Paul’s example. Paul is a man who showed us what a life that relies on the Lord is like. Even though he had a thorn in his flesh, a bondage in his life, he continued to trust and submit to the Lord’s perfect will for him even in weaknesses.

The depth of God’s words in us
In 2 Corinthians 12:8, it says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Now the key here is that he prayed and immediately,  he heard God speak to him. But in our context, we may have prayed for so long, but we do not seem to hear God. Why so? Where is God? Why is Paul able to hear from God and not me? Because Paul has the Word of God in his heart. And not just listening to the Word or learning about it, Paul has been rooting himself in the truth, building his faith foundation on it and being strengthened by it consistently. So it is not just about knowing, but the depth of it within us. We need to train and immerse ourselves within God’s teachings and scriptures, searching His works and applying the truth into our daily lives.

Humility to internalise God’s grace
Now Paul knows that his thorn comes from Satan, but there is also God’s sovereignty in all things. Which means, God has allowed the thorn to be in Paul’s life. So why did God not take the thorn away after Paul’s plea. Because even greater than that, there is God’s grace, as the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in weakness.” Now this can easily just become a verse we know, but without internalising it, it becomes abstract in the face of our troubles. So how do we internalise it? It requires humility. Paul knows that with all his gifts and experiences, he will easily become proud, so God gave him a thorn. This thorn causes discomfort but also serves as a reminder and tool for humility. Just as Paul’s thorn brought him to always turn to God for reliance even after serving and watching great things happen because of his preaching. It refines him and restrains him from the traps of arrogance and self-righteousness. So to really rely on God, we need to be humbled down, to lay down all our personal burdens and motives, and keep wrestling to do what God convicts you, even if it is difficult at first. Hard to come back to church after being hurt? Just keep coming for service to receive the word. Still struggling? Join a cell group and see how God slowly works in you and your brethren living. Yes it seems like we cannot, but we must remember God’s greater grace that supports and edifies us beyond our issues. God’s grace and our humility works hand in hand.

Boast about our weaknesses
Finally, to rely on God, we have to boast our weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Now we all fear or do not like our weaknesses, right? But here, Paul shows a different response. He does not fear his weaknesses because:

1) Firstly, he sees it as God’s protection. He knows that the inability he feels from his weakness is to guard his heart from being arrogant, and to always know that he needs the Lord.

2) Secondly, the weakness moulds him. The weakness refines him and prepares him to be used as the Lord’s vessel. The thing that causes us to keep struggling through and cannot quickly triumph over, the thing that causes us to wrestle in our spirits , that is the training process of a servant of God, the refiner’s fire.

3) And finally, this weakness also becomes a testimony. Just like how we share our struggles on messages sometimes, about my past struggles and present ones. When we experience certain problems ourselves and share about it, it hits different. It relates and really touches the heart of those in the same plight or have been through the same route. You get to bless and minister people that God put around you. You see, even a weakness, a seemingly undesirable and negative encounter can be turned into such a glorious tool to edify God’s people. So that is how great God’s grace is. Therefore, do not underestimate the goodness of the weakness you are going through today.

Now brothers and sisters, I hope this message helps us to have a clearer idea of what it means to rely on God and grow our faith. May the Lord continue to mould and humble us through our struggles and help us experience the deep and true joy of being God-reliant in this distracting world. God bless.

Miki Terayama

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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