When we characterize our missteps as letting God down, we imply that we are holding him up in the first place. If God’s well-being is contingent upon our success, we are all in trouble.
Does God need our progress? Does God need anything from us? If you listen to the way that many of us speak, it appears that we believe that God is awaiting our praise, presence, progress, or persistence to get some things done in this world.
If God is needy, he is not God.
But that’s not how many people think. I often hear many people speak of God as if he is needy. Many people express allegiance to what I call the Needy God. In all honesty, they show obeisance to him because they are worried about what will happen to him if they fail to oblige.
Without mankind’s existence, God’s presence seemingly lacks a clear purpose. It is difficult to envision what he even did before we arrived on the scene. In fact, the reality of our existence centers around addressing God’s supposed neediness. God was apparently lonely, but ever since he created us, we have graciously alleviated his solitudinous sorrow.
I first learned about the Needy God from well-intended spiritual mentors. In an effort to draw me near to God, they depicted him as destitute.
- They explained the reason why loved ones died is that God must have needed them in heaven for some definitive reason.
- Many of these leaders would teach me that God wanted to do certain things in my life but was unable because I was unwilling.
- They explained that if I really expected God to do something in this world, he needs my money, resources, and volunteer hours to get the job done.
With so many responsibilities, he must be relieved that he created me to help him out.
It even seemed as if God’s emotional state was contingent upon my regular availability for him. At an early age, I was taught regularly concerning the necessity of having a daily quiet time in which I would commit to reading my Bible and praying to him. To ensure that I didn’t cancel that appointment, I was taught that God’s emotional wholeness and my daily obedience were intrinsically linked. “How do you think God feels when none of his children even want to spend time with him? If you don’t read your Bible and pray in the morning, God is left abandoned in heaven, wondering why you don’t care anything about him. After all he has done for you, how do you think that makes him feel?”
Guilt is a reasonably potent motivator for me. When I envisioned God as a senile, old man stranded in a nursing home with no recent visitors, I felt a legitimate burden to spend time with him. If I neglected that time, he might become depressed or lonely, and how then would the world continue to orbit within the cosmos?
If God is that needy, the state of the world is instead dependent upon us.
I was exhorted at an early age that I better never let God down.
The only way I can let God down is if I was holding him up in the first place.
God is not needy. God is independent.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.Acts 17:24
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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