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For years, I have been drawn to carefully study Second Corinthians. I can honestly say that studying it has been one of the most meaningful and impactful studies I have ever done. It has been powerful in my life. The main emphasis of the whole letter was that we, as believers in Christ, should live our lives dependent on God all the time. We are to be God-dependent in our strengths when we are using our gifts and skills and opportunities well. We are to be God-dependent in our weaknesses that drive us to Him for help. And we are to be God-dependent everywhere in between. God wants for us women to be God-dependent women—not “independent except for when we need Him.” We are to be God-dependent. All. The. Time.
The choice to be a “God-dependent woman”
Paul wrote this in 2 Corinthians 1:9,
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
We are to rely on God rather than on ourselves. What does that really mean?
In the verse before this one, Paul described how he and his companions were experiencing something far beyond their ability to endure. If you ever studied Acts, you realize how tenacious Paul was, how bold he was, how much he endured, and how he even endured beatings and imprisonments with singing. After all that time, why did God still want them to rely on Him rather than what they had learned already?
If you look up the definition of rely, you will find it means “to place confident trust in, to depend on.” So, God wanted Paul to live dependently on Him. He wants the same for us. I call it “Dependent Living” That is not a senior housing option. It is a choice of how to live life with God.
Being a “God-dependent woman” is counterintuitive to culture.
Being God-dependent all the time is so radically different from what our culture teaches. If you have been reared in western culture, this is contrary to what you have been taught most of your life. From the time we are girls, we have been told that women should not depend on anyone or anything for our success.
I realize that this compensates for poor teaching from the past that looked upon women as weak, unequal to men, and too emotional to be reliable. So, from girlhood, we have been taught to “stand on your own two feet” and “you don’t need anyone to be successful.” Self-reliance is the way to be a strong, effective woman.
As the wise Jedi Yoda says in the Empire Strikes Back movie, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” That might involve turning away from some voices in social media, Netflix, books, and blogs that contribute to the illusion that you are a stronger woman if you are totally self-reliant. Let me say this, though. I am not equating self-reliance with being responsible. God wants us to be responsible for what we do with our lives, our finances, and our time.
Being a God-dependent woman is not being weak and passive
So, how does this relying on God fit our lives as women today? What does being a God-dependent woman look like?
- Are we as Christian women supposed to stay like babies not doing anything for ourselves? No! That is not what it means. We are supposed to grow and mature in our thinking and behavior.
- Are we as Christian women supposed to just lie back and let anything happen to us? No! That is not what it means. The New Testament teaches Christians to be wise and proactive in our dealings with everyone—whether in the church or outside of it—for our own good as well as for the good of others.
- Are we not supposed to use our skills, talents, advantages, and opportunities to be the best women we can be? No! That is not what it means. God wants us to give back to Him all the skills, talents, advantages, and opportunities He has given to us and use them for His glory. That involves following His leading and guidance. Sometimes, our strength can be our greatest hindrance. We tend to rely on that rather than on God.
So, relying on God means submitting your strengths and your weaknesses to Him for His purposes in your life.
Becoming God-dependent is how God grows His children
Here is what I figured out several years ago from studying this topic in the Bible.
Human parents raise their children to be less dependent on them and more independent. But God raises His children to be less independent and more dependent on Him.
Whatever He brings into our lives that makes us more dependent upon Him is good for us.
Wow! That is so opposite of what we are taught in our culture and rightly so when it comes to parenting. We rejoice when our children get out on their own and can pay for their own housing, food, transportation, and insurance.
So, does God allow things into our lives so that we are forced to live dependently on Him? Yep. He does.
God gives you more than you can handle
If you have ever seen or heard the saying, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” that is a lie! Biblically, God gives you more than you can handle so that you will learn to rely on Him more than on yourself. Go back to Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians.
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)
What do we tend to rely upon? Usually, it is our own inner strength. Our life experiences. Our skills and know-how. Our own logic.
Paul had years of experience figuring out how to get out of a messy, painful situation. But after all those years of walking with and serving God, if God wanted Paul to rely on Him rather than on his own figuring out, then you can with confidence be assured that God wants you to rely on Him rather than your own figuring out when you have pain and trouble. It is a given. God gives you more than you can handle on your own so that you will learn to rely on Him more.
What if you believed that God does not give you more than you can handle? Then, something comes along that just wipes you out, that floors you, that takes every resource you have, and the pain is still there. That kind of teaching leads to a sense of failure because you could not handle whatever God gave you. Ask anyone who has a life-long debilitating injury or illness. Ask anyone who has a physically or mentally challenged child. Ask anyone who has seen one job loss after another. Do not add to their pain by making them feel like failures!
God gives everyone—you and me and your neighbor—more than we can handle on our own in order to drive us to Him. To rely on Him. To gain the confidence in Him so that we will depend on Him more.
Being a God-dependent woman is the best choice
Choosing to be a God-dependent woman is not choosing weakness. It is being stronger and having more influence, success, and satisfaction than you could ever have through your own efforts—as brilliant and self-sufficient as you might be (or think you are) or as weak and ineffective as you think you are or anywhere in between. All of us need to learn how to live dependently on God more than on ourselves. It is the best choice we can make in this wicked culture that keeps putting emphasis on human power—men power or women power. It is only Christ power that matters.
You learn how to become a God-dependent woman as you act in obedience to the Word of God, depend on Jesus Christ for the power to do so, and trust Him with the results. As His child, God transforms your life by teaching you to live dependently on Him in weakness and in strength. This “dependent living” will make you stronger and more effective in life.
To learn more about being a God-dependent woman, do “The God-Dependent Woman” study of 2 Corinthians. Keep scrolling to get to the links to this study.
You can also listen to a series of podcasts giving additional insight into how to become a God-dependent woman. In each podcast, I evaluate one of those cute Facebook memes that sound nice but are unbiblical when it comes to being a God-dependent woman. Here are some examples: “Depend only on God for your happiness, and you’ll never be sad again,” “It all depends on me, and I depend on God,” and “When you can no longer handle it yourself, give it to God.” Where is the deception in those?
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with confidence that you can depend on Him. Then, live each day as a God-dependent woman!
The God-Dependent Woman (read online)
The God-Dependent Woman (download)