The Christian Life – a Matter of Dependency
Society often conveys an ideology that being independent is equivalent to being accomplished. Family members, teachers, and friends teach us to be independent thinkers; they encourage and praise us for accomplishing things out of our own ability. In many people’s eyes, needing help is a sign of weakness. Yet, this week in the Irvine Christian Students Sunday Fellowship, we saw that appraisal of independency actually does not align with the Word of God. In fact, man was created to be dependent, dependent upon each other and dependent upon God.
Acts 20:28 says,
“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.”
Here, Paul is speaking to the elders of the church in Ephesus and refers to them as the shepherds of the members of the church. God desires that the members of His Body would guide and watch out for each other just as shepherds guide and protect their flock. Paul also recommends such a caring and supportive atmosphere to be built up amongst the believers.
Hebrews 10:24 says,
“And let us consider one another so as to incite one another to love and good works…”
We witness such patterns not only from the apostle Paul, but also from the Lord Jesus Himself. He has said, “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Shepherding someone is not always an easy task, but the best way is to follow our Chief Shepherd. His way of shepherding others is by feeding them. After Jesus’s crucifixion, His disciples became discouraged to follow the Lord. So as the Lord came to recover His disciples, He first fed them. This is a picture of Christ Himself personally coming to us in a form of nourishment.
John 21:15 says,
“Then when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed my lambs.”
After having fed the disciples, Jesus revealed to Peter the way to love Him is to feed other believers. How do we “feed God’s flock?” First, we can feed others by enjoying the Lord and by being “fed” with Him as our supply. Then, we are able to pray for one another, remind each other of God’s promises in the Word, and share what we have enjoyed. As Christians, we must learn to enjoy the Lord on our own, but we also need to learn to depend upon one another to be well nourished in the Lord. This kind of Christian living is much more pleasing to our God than “making it on your own” because His strength is manifested in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). We can take Christ as our grace and nourishment as we are taking care of our daily tasks, depending on Him for our every need. His divine life will become our sufficiency as we encounter many difficult situations in our personal lives and in helping other believers.
“And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)