Our culture’s dependency on technology can be frustrating. Cell phone’s in particular are wonderful and awful all at the same time.
This past week, one evening after dinner, I said farewell to the fam and took off to meet a friend. My phone had 20% battery (or so it SAID), and as I have only been to her home maybe 3 times in the last 5 years, I GPS’d her address.
Let’s be honest. I GPS everything.
Less than 5 minutes into my 17 minute drive, my screen goes black. Prognosis: dead battery.
I quickly consider running back home to grab my car charger, but as a chronic procrastinator, I have left zero wiggle room in my timeline and would be late. The problem: I’m not sure I remember where her house is!
I weigh the options and decide that adventure is the choice for me. I can find her house, right? I’m going to go for it blind. In the dark. And maybe a little directionally challenged.
Let’s do this.
As I was driving, I naturally say a prayer.
I must confess that this is not the first time to find myself in this situation. Previous times may have involved me knocking on multiple doors and asking neighborhood kids where a family lived. I am that person.
I didn’t think doing all that in the dark was a good option for this pregnant lady. So I prayed.
Situations like this are very uncomfortable for most people. A lot of us tend to pride ourselves on being independent. Or even just being on autopilot. We got this. We can handle life.
But usually somewhere along the line, there comes a point where we come to the end of ourselves. Prognosis: dead battery.
It’s uncomfortable, but it makes us face the reality that we don’t really have all that much together. We have limits.
And independence isn’t all it’s chalked up to be.
Coming to the end of ourselves gives us some options:
- We can fake it, and pretend we still have it all together, hoping nobody finds us out.
- We can grab some crutches in life to help us hobble along - for awhile.
- We can depend on God and connect to the One who has what we truly need.
As I was driving “blind” in the dark to my friend’s house, I realized my dependence on self was far too similar to my dependence on my cell phone.
Self is my go to. My autopilot.
The problem is, my independent autopilot is not being led by the Spirit of God. Now, there’s definitely a time to be on autopilot. I don’t need to be led to brush my teeth in the morning.
But independent autopilot can’t deal with my heart.
Independent autopilot can’t address my motives.
Even if I go about life making the right choices and doing the right things, I MUST depend on the Spirit to live a life that pleases God.
A few years back, my husband and I got super over social media and always being on our phones. Blake even got a flip phone for a few months (that didn’t last long).
We deactivated our social media and only stayed in touch with family and friends through calls, texts, and emails.
It was kind of awesome.
So how do we disconnect from the self and live a life that is empowered by the Holy Spirit?
Too often people turn to self to fix this problem too.
We try to muscle ourselves away from self. It’s almost funny.
But we cannot fix ourselves, no matter how hard we try.
Only God can do that.
I’m convinced that God is most concerned about what we are pursuing instead of what we are abstaining from.
The only way to disconnect from self is to focus on Who we need to be connected to.
Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing.
That’s some intimacy right there.
To be so close that you see their every move. And you only do that.
Independent autopilot can’t come close to that.
Here are some practical ways to walk in the Spirit and disconnect from the flesh (self):
- If you have accepted Christ as your savior, you have the Spirit of God in you. You are a Son or Daughter of the Father. He has promised to lead you, if you will be led by Him. Romans 8:14 “For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
- The Spirit loves to show you what He’s doing! Pay attention! Luke 12:32 Do not be afraid and anxious, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 1 Cor. 2:16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”[d] But we have the mind of Christ.
- What you feed grows. The spirit and the flesh (self) are at war with each other. Feed the spirit if you want to walk in the spirit. Romans 8:6 ”So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
- Stay connected. Our main job in this life is to be a branch. That’s it. A branch. We just stay connected to the Vine (Jesus), and we will have everything we need. Connection is the key. John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
- You won’t always get it right. That’s ok. Embrace that this is part of our dependence. If we could get it right all the time, we wouldn’t need the Spirit to lead us. When I find myself stressing out, feeling empty, or stretched beyond my capacity, I realize that I'm disconnected from the Vine in some areas. Reconnect, and stay there! Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
By the way, I made it to my friend's house without incident. I would say it's because I'm awesome, but I truly believe the Lord helped me - I think partly because I was dependent on Him.
Is self your primary go to for most things in life? Are you staying connected to the vine and paying attention to what the Father is doing? If not, ask the Spirit to help you. Trying harder can’t help you, but He can empower us with His grace to stay connected to the Spirit. Dependence is a good place to be!