• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Rescued people are dependent people

Rescued people learn to become dependent people.  It is not a onetime event, but a process over a lifetime. 

How does one know if he/she is growing in dependence or is simply remaining in his/her sinful independence?  Darrin Patrick writes: “We often do not know whether we are living in dependence upon God because we are disengaged from our hearts.”   So, we must engage with our hearts, discerning its movements and motivations.  Patrick provides us with some questions that might help us in this process:

1)      Which do I want more: to know God or to achieve for God?  [Some verses to meditate on: Philippians 3:10; Exodus 33:13; 1 Timothy 4:6-10]

2)      When was the last time I experienced a prompting of the Holy Spirit?  [Some verses to meditate on: John 4:7-19; Acts 16:6-10]

3)      Am I consistently being convicted of sin in my life?  [Some verses to meditate on: Hebrews 12:5-11; John 16:7-8; 1 John 3:9]

4)      Am I consistently accepting my acceptance by God through Christ? [Some verses to meditate on: 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21]

5)      Where do my thoughts go when I am not forced to think about anything?  [Some verses to meditate on: Psalm 63:1-4]

I was greatly ‘exercised’ by this list; discouraged might be another way of putting it.  Then I realized the problem.  I was responding to a series of questions about being dependent by trying to just exercise my own independent will.

Rescued people learn to become dependent people by choosing to go God for the power to change; for the ability and strength to engage one’s heart and learn what it means to depend on God the Father more and more.

4 Responses

  1. David,

    This is a worthwhile exercise and these are questions well worth asking repeatedly. Thank you for stimulating my (hopefully dependent) spirit in this way.

    Mark

    • Thanks for underlining the need to ‘exercise’ as this is a process that the Holy Spirit works on in our lives. Eugene Peterson called it: “A long obedience in the same direction”. Others talk about ‘learning to hear the voice of Jesus’. It’s a process that takes time, discipline, grace and God’s Spirit!

  2. Rescued. From ourselves. Self-dependence. Self-direction. Self-agenda. Self-glory. Wow, thanks for this reminder.

    Central to all of this is the Word of God. To be prompted by the Spirit and convicted of sin I must be immersed in the Word, so the passages for meditation are key. I must be addicted to its influence – dependent. Spirit-centered antinomianism puts trust in the Holy Spirit’s “inward prompting” while ignoring the means of delivery.

    I love the way you’ve couched the Spirit’s prompting and conviction of sin in their only proper context: dependence and Gospel. Posture and position. Prompting comes in dependence – not on some nebulous spirit, but on the Spirit of God speaking through the Word of God – learning what the Gospel makes of us. God has determined to speak through specific means and so involve us in His unfolding drama of redemption… no need for confusion, only application.

    Paul picks up on this language in Romans 10, making the Word essential to the Spirit’s work of regeneration, calling and conviction: “How, then, can they call on the one in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ (Rom. 10:14-15).”

    We can go one step further, I think: Lack of dependence on the means of God’s calling (the Word of God) will mean the church is not mobilized to make disciples. Dependence is mobilization.

    • The movement from self-dependence to dependence is very hard for each of us, given the individualistic nature of our Western culture and our drive to encourage people to become independent. Dependency is the recognition of one’s need for another for help. And so, dependency upon God, His Word, His grace inevitably leads us to recognize that ‘without Him, we can do nothing’ … even mobilize. Thanks for the reminder.

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