Everyone is created with three God-given inner needs – the needs for love, significance, and for security. If we expect or demand that another person meet all of our needs or if we become dependent on another person to do so, we have a misplaced dependency. The Bible makes it clear in Philippians 4:19 “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
The Dependent Person:
- The dependent person’s wrong belief is: “I need to be connected to a stronger person who will provide me with a sense of love and emotional security.”
- But the dependent person’s correct belief is: “While God often expresses His love through others, He doesn’t want me to live my life depending on another person. I need to live dependently on Jesus, who will meet my needs, give me healthy relationships, and make my life fruitful.” Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
The Codependent Person:
- The codependent’s wrong belief: “I am responsible for meeting all the needs of this person whom I love, and that gives me a real sense of significance.”
- The codependent’s right belief: “If I try to meet all the needs of any other person, I’m taking the role that God alone should have. My need for significance cannot be met by pleasing another person, but it is met by pleasing God and finding my significance in Him.” “We make it our goal to please him [God].” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
How to Prevent Codependency when you Help Others:
- Let the person you are helping know that you do (help) it in the power and strength of God.
- Don’t allow yourself to be the “saviour” of the person you help – there is only one Saviour, and you are not Him!
- Don’t always be available – you have other responsibilities that will need to be given high priority levels.
- Don’t pull the person you help to yourself, but rather present and model how to have an intimate relationship with the Lord.
- Don’t rely on your own sufficiency based on your education or experiences. Instead, rely on the Lord’s sufficiency and encourage the person you help to do the same.
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (Psalm 146:5)
The primary problem with codependency can be called “idolatry” – giving a greater priority to anything or anyone other than God Himself. Our God is the One who created you and who has a wonderful plan for your life. He is the Lord who loves you and knows how to fulfill you. If you are in a codependent relationship …
- Your excessive care causes you to compromise your convictions.
- Your excessive loyalty leaves you without healthy boundaries.
- Your excessive “love” allows you to say ‘yes’ when you should say ‘no.’
However, our Maker and Master has the right to have primary rule in our hearts and over our lives. Any other substitute is simply idolatry. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”