In our instant-gratification/get-it-done American culture, it is so easy to slide into self-reliance. How do we keep from making that mistake? Do we wait around for God’s voice to thunder from the sky? Do we pray twelve hours a day and do nothing else?

Here a few simple reminders that I’m finding helpful as I try to avoid self-reliance and enjoy God-guidance:

1) Stay humble

Do you know what one of the sins God hates is? Pride (Proverbs 8:13). Pride often shows up in the form of self-reliance. We think, I can do this on my own, God. I don’t need to consult you or listen to anything you might have to say. I’ve got this. And then we find ourselves tipping over and falling apart. If we remember who we are (mere mortal humans who are here for but a vapor of time!) and look at ourselves humbly, then we will be a lot less prone to push aside the Creator of the universe.

2) Remember the world doesn’t depend on you

So often we think that if we don’t do something about it right now, the world is going to fall apart. But “God managed the world very well before we were born, and he will manage it quite as well—when we are dead” (Spurgeon).

3) Listen actively to God

Sometimes we assume waiting on the Lord means…well, means doing nothing. Or we improperly label procrastination as “waiting on the Lord.” But neither of those is a proper definition. Charles Spurgeon explains waiting on the Lord this way: “Wait at his door with prayer; wait at his foot with humility; wait at his table with service; wait at his window with expectancy.” (Spurgeon Commentary on Psalm 27:14) That is active waiting.

4. Obey 

“Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mountaintop with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness” (Oswald Chambers). Once the Lord has spoken to you, obey immediately. Remember, though, that immediate obedience may involve actively waiting on the Lord. 

So, the next time you’re tempted to rush ahead, will you instead sit back and listen to your God? Not only could it save you from plunging into a sea of trouble, but you will be blessed.

"But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

Felicia Alvarez lives in Southern California and loves avocados, sunshine, and serving her Savior. Currently, she teaches dance to over one hundred students and is working on her second book. Connect with Felicia on her blog or Facebook—she would love to hear from you.

Publication date: November 5, 2013