Living It Out! – Desperate Dependence
When will we get desperate for Him? As our church cries out to God to pour out on us the value of desperate dependence, in vulnerability, we must come before the Lord and ask the hard questions:
How do I know if my life is abiding in You? How do I know if I'm doing life in my own power? Am I desperately dependent?
Dallas Willard so beautifully reminds us, "the Christian life is what you do when you finally realize you can do nothing." What does it look like to live out desperate dependence?
Humble Submission to the Lord – John 15:1-5
As we see from original sin, there is something in every person saying we think we can do much. Jesus reminds us: no, this new life is in Me. The Christian life is learning what it is to abide in Christ and He in you. Because apart from Him, you cannot do the work He has for you to do.
We don't understand how the powerful lies of pride, image, and comfort rob us of our desperate reality. We are asleep and blind to the fact we are drowning, and there are others around us crying out to be rescued from the seas of this world. We have settled for Christian experiences which revolve around catering to ourselves and a Jesus who brings us comfort and spiritual highs; not truly understanding the central message of Christianity is abandoning ourselves. Desperate dependence and pride cannot coexist at the same time. Pride says I did this instead of recognizing without God I can do nothing. We can only become desperately dependent on God when we realize only God can do what we could never do. As a church, when we realize we cannot do anything on our own, we will discover our desperate need for Christ.
Weaknesses Show the Beauty of Gospel – 2 Corinthians 12:9
How do we address pride or know if we are entrapped by it? As a church body, we must be willing to share our weaknesses with others. In our pride, we may long to hide our struggles, imperfections, or trials because they are not in our power or control. But these thorns are things God is doing because He knows it is needed for our souls. These are things we need to entrust to Him.
Trials, weaknesses, and thorns expose the heart. It is here we begin to see our weakness and how much we want life on our own terms. Our trials, thorns, and weaknesses direct us to the love of God if we have the heart to open to him.
Come Out of Hiding - Jeremiah 17:7–8
Only when we come out of hiding can we undergo redemption through confession; there is no condemnation in Christ. Not only do we receive complete forgiveness, but also full acceptance in Christ. What beauty to remember and rest on: you are clothed in Christ's righteousness; there is no need to cover in your works or hide from your sin. You cannot get more acceptance than you already have. Many feel forgiven, but many don't feel very acceptable. Some of us have been hiding sins that bring so much shame and guilt. In seeking to avoid the reality of our need for the Lord, our hearts are tempted to use even spiritual disciplines to hide; this is an awful burden for any human to carry.
Coming out of hiding will be overwhelming, and we will need others in a church body where safety and grace should flow freely. Vulnerability of the heart opens each individual and the entire church to actual desperate dependence. For when we are weak together, we are also strong.
We Are Not Okay, Jesus Is - 2 Corinthians 3:5–6
In light of facing our need, many of us in the church will try to work harder to live in a high spiritual place. As believers, we may think we should not still struggle with sin. We may be ashamed of seasons of desperation or dryness. But Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you; My power is perfected in weakness.” We want times where God seems close and everything is wonderful because in those times, we don't have to look at ourselves.
Like Paul, we, as individuals and as a church must come to understand that we should be content with trials because they reveal our hearts, show our weaknesses, and open us to dependence. When we are weak, we discover we really need God. That is where the strength is. That is desperate dependence. Our weaknesses, struggles, seasons of dryness or pain is not God withdrawing; rather, God is maturing us to see ourselves in the light of His holiness. He wants you to realize every breath, every step, every moment of your life is given by Him. The Spirit of God wants to make your heart his home. He wants to fill your whole soul with his love. May we rejoice in the gift of desperate dependence. As we consider our desperate dependence on the Lord, we should ask ourselves the following questions:
- Is there any hidden pain or sin in my life that I am trying to deal with on my own?
- Where do I seek comfort or abide in besides the Lord? Relationships, career, money, food, television, games, routines, traditions, or even ministry?
- Where do I take credit for what God has done?