devotional

23MAR
2013

Our Utter Dependency

 

Voddie Baucham well said, “The nail in the coffin of the evangelical church is that of self-sufficiency.” The moment a pastor feels that he can teach simply because he has learned or attended seminary is the moment his ministry takes a turn for uselessness or mere showmanship. We are not self-sufficient as NT ministers. Even if your living isn’t from the church, if you’re in Christ you’re striving to serve Him in an honorable calling. You are not sufficient for what you seek in and of yourself. You need the strength that God alone can provide.

 

     Here are some Bible verses that remind us of this. In John 15:5 Jesus spoke of Himself as the vine from which Christians receive their nourishment. As such He told His own, “…Without Me you can do nothing.” Paul writes as a branch that, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7. Cf. Romans 7:18. St. Paul repeatedly affirmed that he, like the others, was not able to be an Apostle by his own strength. This is no different for any Christian. When the strength for a person’s ministry is completely acknowledged as that which God gives, it eliminates pride or boasting in one’s accomplishments. God then gets all the credit. It’s simply put for us all by Paul when he wrote: “By the grace of God I am what I am…” 1 Corinthians 15:10. And let’s not forget what God told this man in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Amen. Admitting one’s weakness is not some great spiritual breakthrough; it’s simply an accurate assessment of one’s self. Such ideas are wholly antithetical in our culture. We are all weak and beggarly before God.

           

This is perhaps the hardest lesson for some of us to learn.

 

     We are utterly dependent upon God. It is the mark of the fallen to speak of religion with disdain as just a “crutch.” They say this in pure darkness. They think they’re well and have no need of a physician and so will die in denial. We are utterly dependent upon God, not just in ministry, but even for our daily needs. Something that reminds us of all of this very well is fasting. When you fast and you feel the weakness coming into your body, the shakiness, the headaches, the hunger pangs, the dry mouth and the near constant physical longing for nourishment, it reminds us of every ounce of grain, every drop of juice, every pound of vegetables, meat or fruit we’ve consumed without thinking. Every morsel of it is from God. The strongest know this best, 2 Corinthians 11:27. We are especially reminded in fasting of our spiritual need before God. We are completely, in every way as humans, dependent upon the provision of God, Acts 17:28.

 

     The whole of human history before God shows us, if we’re informed by Scripture, that whatever faculties, senses, or reason God calls into action in us, we never do. He judges us rightly for failing to properly enact what we should before Him as men. We cannot do well, but we should. This is because mankind is dead in sin. We are utterly, in every way, completely dependent upon God. The full understanding of this will surely undergird all the greatest lessons of heaven.

 

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