The word for this week is 'DEPENDENCE'.
In a nation where we are shaped by independence and take pride in it, dependence on God entirely can be a difficult. Dependence, for many may often be associated with weakness and can be looked upon as something to avoid at all costs.
In John 15:5, Jesus illustrates a point for us that reinforces the nature and need of dependence.
"I am the Vine, you are the branch, the one who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit for without Me you can do nothing."
Jesus didn't say 'without Me you can do a few things OR without Me you can do some things OR even without Me you can do one thing.' Jesus said in no uncertain terms--'without Me you can do nothing." That is applied to every day ending in 'Y' and every opportunity those days provide.
I read a story yesterday that perfectly reinforces the need for dependence. It came from Pastor Brian Branam, Liberty Baptist Church, Dalton GA as he told of a high school football player named Jake Olson who was a two-sport athlete in football and golf. A couple of years ago, Jake walked on the football team at USC and earned a position on the team. Jake's position on the team is long snapper. For anyone not familiar with that term, the long snapper is the guy that snaps the football back to the punter some 10 yards behind him most often on 4th down. His role is important because he must transfer the ball from the line of scrimmage to the punter and then block those who are trying to disrupt the play. It is not the most prestigious position on the team but no less important.
What makes this particular story so unique is that Jake Olson is blind.
You may ask--how can a guy participate in a sport like football or golf without the ability to see? I have difficulty hitting a golf ball at times with two eyes. Jake Olson has no vision, whatsoever.
How is it possible to play team sports and find your way to the right spot on the field? More importantly, how is a blind person able to snap the ball, make a block and then run down the field and be ready to tackle the opposing ball carrier if necessary, after the kick?
The answer is 'dependence'. Jake depends on his teammates to guide him.
Brian Branam adds this--"We worship a God we cannot see. Yet His power has given us plenty of guidance. He has given us His Spirit, His word and His people. A person who tries to go it alone runs blindly into chaos with no guidance. True, God forgives us, but it is the people of God, (the church), who help us experience what it truly means to be forgiven. If we say we love God, we must also love one another."
Jesus said in John 15:6--"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and withers; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."
Living the liberated life of independence from tyranny is one thing.
Living a liberated life of independence from God is quite another altogether.
So, when you find yourself up to your ears in the 'deep end' of this present world, remember you can only depend on the faithfulness of God and His word to save you and give you stability in life.
Who are you consistently leaning on day to day? That is THE most likely candidate for who you're learning from and living for!
'Self' is the obvious answer in the minds of the majority. And even the blind can see that and the deaf are able to hear it when it's 'in play'.
Consider this; is that kind of practice 'in play' for you?
Are you living the attached life? Attached to Jesus, the Vine in devoted dependence?
If so, there's no good reason for living an isolated life.
If not, that's the reason you'll be left.
Dependence--it's something everyone needs to win in this present struggle called 'life'!
May the Lord bless your abiding in Him as
you learn to depend on His Spirit, His word and those who are His by redemption!
1 Corinthians 15:58