(Photo taken by Erik Johansson)

Written by Amanda


The Self-Sufficiency of God

My son came to me last week thoroughly bored. I know he was bored because he had just gotten done tormenting his sister.

“Mom, it’s been forever since we played with playdough.”

It hadn’t been forever, but it had been a while, and it was raining. So I got the playdough bin out for him.

He sat at our kitchen table for hours. He sculpted alligators and rolled snakes out of a psychedelic primary-colored swirl of previously-used playdough. He asked for my praise, “Isn’t this the most amazing crocodilian you have ever seen, Mom?” The fun lasted past lunch time (which is when my fun began—you know, sweeping smooshy playdough particles off the tile.)

We might imagine God at the creation of the world a bit like this: a creative child sculpting the whole universe. But we couldn’t be more wrong.

First of all, God had no playdough, or anything else outside Himself to work with. God spoke into darkness and created light. God commanded dry land to come out of water. God set the stars into the vast beyond with His words. And with His words: black-and-white zebras, glow-in-the-dark lantern fish, parakeets and people. God spoke the world and the galaxies—everything our eyes can see and everything beyond what our eyes can see—out of nothing. In other words, God within His own Self had everything He needed to make everything we see. (Gen. 1; John 1:1-4; Col. 1:16-17)

Maybe we wonder why God created us, created this. We might try to answer that question with why we might create something. He got bored. He got lonely. He needed help. He needed someone to praise Him. But God lacks nothing. And while this might sound mind-boggling in this increasingly self-absorbed world: God doesn’t need our praises. He doesn’t need our companionship. He doesn’t need our help. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) and never the other way around.

The Best News We Find in God’s Self-Sufficiency

A few years ago, I went through a rough patch in my personal life. My husband started a brand new career in law enforcement, we moved, our church closed; the whole landscape of my life changed—and with it, I struggled to find my footing. I was a try-hard girl: I had worked hard to be the best wife, mom, ministry leader, and follower of Christ I could be. I had put a lot of stock into “my calling” and what I could offer the Lord. And yet, all I saw around me were my gaping-wide failures.

Thing is, I might have been able to tell you that grace is God’s unmerited favor; but, man, did I ever live like I need to prove my merit.

In that season, I found the best news we find in God’s All-Sufficiency: God doesn’t need us. God who spoke and, POOF! it was, doesn’t actually need our toiling, our striving. He doesn’t even need our ministries. He doesn’t actually need us at all. And with that realization comes an even better one: God wants us.

When we come to accept that God is Self-Sufficient and that we aren’t needed, we understand that our value isn’t in what we do. It’s in simply being His.

This isn’t a diatribe on how no one should ever do anything for the Lord ever because if God wanted it done He would just do it. If that was the case, He wouldn’t have given us a free will. This is a call to put God in His proper place in our lives—as our Source.

See, I thought that as I matured in Christ, I would need Him less. I mean, think about it, from the time we are born we begin our march to independence. We start out needing our parents for everything: from nourishment to diaper changes. By the time we are adults, we no longer actually need our parents. Maybe we imagine our spiritual journey would be similar to our natural one. But it’s not. The marker of our spiritual maturity is our recognition of our great need for Christ. Our spiritual journey is a march towards full dependence. Remember, It is IN HIM that we live and move and have our being. The saints are the ones who are unwilling to move without God going with them.

I love this passage in 2 Corinthians, and it seems to be a fitting way to close out this post: “And [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (12:9-10).

Untitled design (2)Amanda is a law enforcement wife and a homeschooling mom to three. Her family has called Reality Church of Stockton home for three years. When Amanda’s not pulling her toddler off the bookshelf or explaining to picky eaters why vegetables need to be eaten, she enjoys iced lattes, bird watching, and deep conversations. She lives clinging to the hope she has in Christ that in spite of all her short-comings, she shall be called an overcomer yet. You can also find her writing her broken stories on her blog.