God is self-sufficient which means He doesn’t need anything outside of Himself to exist. God possesses all of His attributes in a never-ending supply.
As humans, we have basic needs like oxygen, food, and warmth. You only have to hold your breath for a minute to understand just how desperately dependent we are. But God is not like us. Let’s take a closer look at the self-sufficiency of God, where we see this attribute of God on display in the Bible, and what it means for us as believers.
What is Self-Sufficiency?
Self-sufficiency is one of the key attributes of God. It is defined as needing no outside help in fulfilling one’s needs. God is defined as self-sufficient as He doesn’t need anything outside of Himself to exist. God existed before creation, He has always existed and has never relied on anything to stay alive. Instead, He is the source of all things and His creation (including us) depends on Him for life—for everything.
Self-Sufficiency on Display in the Bible
We learn about God’s self-sufficiency in various passages of the Bible.
Isaiah 40:28 (ESV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
Isn’t it amazing to know that God is never tired? He doesn’t need rest. Our God who is limitless has no lack. This verse highlights God’s neverending physical energy and his limitless mental ability. Isn’t it a comfort to know that God will never falter?
Acts 17:24-25 (ESV) 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.
This passage in Acts is a reminder to the church that God doesn’t need us! He delights in us, He cares for us, He loves us with unfathomable love, but He doesn’t NEED us. Instead, we rely on Him! In fact, each breath we take is because the Father wills us to take it. Isn’t that amazing? We’re barely conscious of our breathing, but God is. Verse 25 ends with a blanket statement that ends any argument. EVERYTHING we have is from God. Not the work of our own hands, not our clever plans—God alone is the source of all we have.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
As humans, we are to view our insufficiency as an opportunity to glorify God. Because when we see ourselves as we are—weak, sinful, broken, imperfect—we also see God for who He is—mighty, perfect, self-sufficient, abundant—and we worship Him as we should. He will provide the strength we need (the power of Christ) to do His will and live a life that honors Him.
What Does God’s Self-Sufficiency Mean for Us?
Understanding the self-sufficiency of God fills us with confidence that the God we serve will never fail us, will keep His Word, and always exist. He is unchanging in His self-sufficiency, so those who place their hope in Him can rejoice—they will not be put to shame.
Because God is self-sufficient, He does not need us
He did not need to create the world. And it’s not easy to understand why He did create the world even with the knowledge that it would become corrupt, but we do know that He delights in creation, and His plan for salvation displays His goodness, love, and mercy in a very powerful way.
Because God is self-sufficient, we can rely on Him fully
God is the source, the provider of all things. Often we forget this and try to rely on ourselves. We struggle and fail to be good as we foolishly try to earn our salvation—it’s futile. We were created to depend on God for everything, including eternal life. He is the abundant provider and He will never run out of anything! He is the antidote to our insecurity. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Because God is self-sufficient, He is worthy of praise
When we behold the wonder of the Father sustaining our lives, giving us each breath, and providing for our needs we can worship Him appropriately. We see His goodness, embrace His love, and renew our perspective on His awesomeness. He does not need our praise, but He is worthy of it. He alone is worthy.
Ephesians 3:21 (ESV) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.