Theology Lessons from Brandi Huerta
In a true and deep sense, it can be comforting to think of God as needing us, His beloved creatures. Needing and loving are as closely related in our modern minds as inhaling and exhaling are—indeed, they seem inextricably linked. If you can do without something, how much do you really love it?
Why in the world would God create us to begin with? Does He need our love and worship? We feel powerful and vital when someone pines over us or loses sleep over us; how much more valuable would we be if the well-being of the God of the very universe was dependent upon us in some way?
You cannot need someone and love someone at the same time. – Rick Thomas
If what Rick says is true—and it is—then God loves you perfectly precisely because He doesn’t need you or anything else for that matter. What you need (or what you believe you need) will control you; God doesn’t need and isn’t controlled by anything outside of Himself. Thus, He is pure love.
There may be nothing more heartbreaking than to hear someone you love say they don’t need you. I know some folks will have a strong impulse to react negatively to what I’m saying here just because, on the face of it, it may sound like I’m making God out to be robotic, cold, and impersonal. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Everything God is, He is of Himself. He depends on nothing and no one to be what He is. Consider Paul’s words in this passage.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything (Acts 17:24-25).
And this one, too.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:33-36).
God receives nothing, is affected by nothing, and isn’t dependent upon anything that is not Himself to be who He is. Nothing can happen to Him. We call this doctrine God’s aseity; the word “aseity” is from the Latin a se, meaning of or from one’s self. This teaching does not mean that God is self-caused. That would be impossible because something exists to cause something; nothing can cause itself to be. It means that He is wholly uncaused. Another way to say this is that He is pure being, without potential to become anything. He is absolutely perfect and is the sufficient explanation for His own existence.
Some people believe that goodness (for instance) is something that exists alongside God, and it is a part of Him or something He participates in. Do you see how that belief makes God dependent on something that is not Himself to be what He is? If that were the case, how would you account for the existence of goodness? Did something else create it? If not, you can’t escape the belief that goodness is the sufficient explanation for its own existence, making it and not God most absolute.
Goodness would depend on nothing and no one to be what it is, and our God would be a dependent being. Everything that is not God is caused by God. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things, like Romans 11 says. Everything we have and everything we are, we have not of ourselves but from God. Life, breath, and every good thing you have come directly from God’s hand.
Out of His abundance, He freely gives without any diminishment of what He has. When we give to God or serve Him, we don’t add anything to Him because everything is His, to begin with, and He doesn’t need anything. Even when we talk about glorifying God, that doesn’t mean that He won’t have glory if we withhold it. His glory, like everything else about Him, is perfect. For us to glorify Him implies that we manifest God’s character and nature to other creatures, not because God needs it but because He deserves it.
Aseity also means that we can’t put God in our debt. Our obedience doesn’t earn anything from God in the sense of obligating Him to us in an ultimate sense. When He freely enters into a covenant with His people, such that He says, “If you do such and so, I will bless you,” He does so graciously and not because He has to so that the covenant blessings He promises are out of the abundance of His kindness—even if they do depend on the obedience of His people.
It’s common for people to think that God created us because He was lonely without us, but this isn’t true. He would eternally have perfect communion within His triune nature even if He had never created us. Again, He didn’t create out of need or obligation of any kind but because He deserves to be glorified.
Lord, You don’t just have the truth. You are the Truth. As Anselm said, “You are the good without which there is no good.” Without You, there is no beauty because You are Beauty itself. You are Life in Yourself, and our very lives we borrow from You.
You need nothing we have because there is nothing that is not supremely Yours. When I love the good, apart from loving the Good, I am an idolator. If You were needy or dependent, You would not be worthy of worship. But You are worthy, O LORD; You are. Make much of Yourself through me. I love You; please grant that I would love You more.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen (Philippians 4:19-20).
If this is the God you worship, and if you have trusted in His Son, who is the incarnation of all of this perfection, He loves you with the fullness of His love. To be human is to be dependent and needy; thankfully, you have a God who supplies all your needs! Again, to be a creature is to need, but you can be relatively free from need if the Lord is your God. In a previous lesson, I said you become what you behold; you resemble what you revere, either for ruin or restoration. What, then, would you look like if you worshipped the a se God in Spirit and truth?
To one degree or another, every person on earth loves the good more than the Good. As you ponder these questions, what do you need the Lord’s forgiveness for? Will you pause now and ask Him for it and ask Him to give you more love for Himself and grant that you would bear His image more deeply? Please do not skip over this part. Your joy, your peace, and your ability to glorify God depend on it.
The person who walks in the power of the independent God will himself be steadfast and immovable (1 Corinthians 15:58), not tossed about by the circumstances of life and the opinions of other people. He is then free to love people, walk in integrity, and fear nothing (Proverbs 28:1). If you know and worship God as He is and people insult you, you will not be controlled by them. Whether you choose to love them by serving them, correcting them, helping them change, or even walking away from them for a time (or forever), your soul will be quiet.
Your affection for the person will not diminish, and your joy in the Lord will not be affected. Difficult circumstances will not have an adverse effect on your joy, which is a fruit of the Spirit and does not depend on the trials of life. You will be able to worship God, thanking Him for His care for you and for whatever He will bring to you next because you know He will not change due to what has happened to you.
If you have been toiling away for years, struggling for change and not finding it, perhaps this is why. The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If your goal in changing is other than that, transformation will likely be elusive. And if your perception of the Lord is different than that of the perfectly stable God who is of and from Himself, your stability will suffer too.
If your stability suffers, so will your relationship with God and people. When you don’t need people because your fullness comes from God, you will be free to love and enjoy them like never before.
Brandi Huerta is the wife of Matthew and the mother of Chelsee, Rachel, and Josiah. She lives on the plains of Colorado, where she is active in the women’s, children’s, and counseling ministries at Grace Bible Church in Brush. Brandi received her training through LifeOverCoffee.com Mastermind Program.