Today I began reading 2 Corinthians. I intended to read the first few chapters but when I got to verse 9 of chapter 1, I knew that was as far as God wanted me to go today. Paul writes, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:9) How often do we rely on ourselves or others instead of God? I do it every day. And I bet you do too.
It’s hard in America to rely on God instead of ourselves or others. For example, in my 36 years on this planet I never really meant it when I prayed to God and said “Give us this day our daily bread” as part of the Lord’s Prayer. After all, I have a refrigerator full of food and if we run out, there is Kroger down the street.
I rely on Kensington Church for a paycheck to pay my mortgage.
I rely on the doctor to make me better when I’m sick.
I rely on Blue Care Network to pay my hospital bills.
And yet, as I type those last few sentences I hear God whispering to me what he said over 3,000 years ago to the Hebrew people: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”(Deut. 8:17-18)
I need to be like the Hebrew nation and the apostle Paul and rely on God instead of myself / other people / things. I feel this tension as we’re in the initial stages of planting a church. There are scores of books about church planting on the market today that tell you common mistakes to avoid and ways to lead well. There are organizations to partner with that will bring coaching and funding. There are tests available to discover your personal strengths and the strengths of your core team members. There are methods to follow that will raise the probability of a successful launch.
While there is nothing wrong with any of these, I must not rely on them instead of God. I need to ultimately put my faith, hope, and trust in God and not these man-made things.
The final words of 2 Cor. 1:9 tells us why we should rely on God: because he raises the dead. God is in the dead-raising business! I need to remind myself of this every single day, that God has the power to…raise…the…dead! And since God has that kind of power, it would be foolish to rely on anyone or anything else.