I think it's easy to forget that Jesus wasn't just the Son of God, but an actual person. He needed food and water to survive, he knew of love and heartache, frustration and fear, passion and temptation, betrayal. He had a mother who sustained him through his infancy, and probably asked God for lots of Grace as she navigated his toddlerhood. Jesus would have needed to be potty trained. He may have played with his food instead of eating it, dumped piles of sewing out of a basket in typical toddler curiosity, played in the dirt after bath time, had fussy nights as baby teeth cut through his gums.
He had an Earthly father, who instilled in him wisdom, who guided him through teenage years, who would have patiently taught him his trade.
Can you imagine trying to keep your cool and set a Godly example for your child, who wasn’t just your child, but literally God’s child AND God? I need a whole lot of Jesus to keep it together now, and I still regularly lose my patience with my kids!
One of the reasons God sent His Son as man was so that our savior was someone who could truly live out an example of a God-filled life. A man who experienced an earthly life created someone who could have deep and meaningful exchanges with people. It also meant we, prone to whining and petty comparisons, can’t say, “Well, Jesus didn’t…” because he did.
Jesus dealt with adulterers , thieves and swindlers (tax collectors) Matthew and Zacchaeus, the gravely ill, chronically afflicted, liars, the demon-possessed. Throughout his entire ministry, he alluded to his ultimate sacrifice. He knew he would be betrayed, and that his death would be agony.
Mary, Joseph, Jesus, then his disciples - lived in dependence. Mary, in finding she was an expectant unwed mother, praised God for His blessings. Joseph, in finding his fiancé was pregnant, not by him but from God, thought to call things off. Instead, when angels told him to marry her anyway, he listened. They fled their home when angels warned them, taking Jesus to safety. Hearing from God, heeding His message. We see in the disciples this same pattern: in leaving their jobs to follow Jesus, in the storm, with the loaves and fishes. Hear and heed. And, of course, Jesus, living in dependence of God’s will in all circumstances. In knowing and understanding his purpose, he leaned on his Father to sustain him through doubt, fear, and hurt.
Living in dependence is recognizing that we don’t have what we need to survive on our own. It goes beyond surrender. Dependence comes when we automatically seek God first. When we tell God our problems before our friends. When we vent to God before we vent to Facebook. When we praise God before we praise our own merits, our connections, or others.
Dependence means God is number one in all things, because we recognize a life led with God as our copilot is still futile, because He should be the pilot. We should remove ourselves from the driver’s seat and let God take over. We really shouldn’t even have a license, honestly.
As a mom, I jokingly say “Jesus take the wheel!” a lot (… a LOT…), but really, I need Jesus to take the driver’s seat, shove me over into the passenger’s seat, and handle the course. I cannot ever arrive at the destination God has for me if I’ve still got control of the gas and brake. If I drive, or have the chance to drive, I’m questioning, second-guessing, patting myself on the back, kicking myself when I’ve messed up - basically it’s all about me, me, me. When I let Jesus take over, I can take the focus off myself. I stop trying to control everything.
When we shift our living from independence to in dependence, we can trust God to direct our steps and light our path.
Psalm 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”