Summary: A sermon asking the question about Christian maturity, is it becoming more dependent on oneself or on Jesus.
Christian Maturity: Dependence or Independence
We have a perception of maturity that as one becomes maturer and as one becomes greater in power that he becomes more dependent upon self or becomes independent. We get this perception when we consider children, as they grow older. As they start to walk they are carried less, then ultimately they aren’t carried at all unless they arrive to a point of need and can not walk themselves. We consider that person to be vulnerable or weak. It goes on in life as people take on a new job and have to be trained until they can handle it themselves. It seems that in most cases we work and live to separate from those we depend on. In order to grow stronger it seems we must pull away from others.
This race to excel and to become independent has left in its path a destroyed family life. If it isn’t the child striving to get out to live on his/her own, it’s the parents pushing the child on to get them out of the house so that they can carry on life, as they desire. I realize it should be a goal for kids, to be able to care for themselves and eventually learn to provide for a family of their own. The problem is in the race for independence there wasn’t the caring and nurturing needed then and down the road. Dependence is good, but we also need to know whom we can depend on. In maturing we have a perception of pulling away.
If someone is dependent on another or is totally relying on another we perceive them to be immature, weak, lazy, and powerless. We say they just aren’t able to take care of themselves, they will never be anybody. If they don’t get out from under mother’s wing they will never make it in this world.
Jesus said, “…how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings…”(Matthew 23:37b). See in all actuality, when dealing with Jesus, the opposite is true to what we have been taught about being mature and powerful. The book of Psalm goes on to say…
“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.”
4. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6. Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
I say with the Psalmist…
“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,”
“…yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”
“I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”
We all know that if a man lives with his mother too long and is always calling on her for help that he is referred to as a mommy’s boy. Folks I stand before you unashamed today and declare that I am a Jesus boy.
I will be living with Him the rest of my life and throughout eternity, and for my every need I will be running to Him. If a bully demon comes picking on me I am running to Jesus, if my finances are low I will be running to Jesus, if I am sick I will be running to Jesus. All I know to tell you, I make no excuses, is that I am a Jesus boy. Are you a Jesus boy too?
A baby bird will learn to fly in order to leave the nest, I learn to fly in order to fly to the nest. Little babies learn to walk so that they can get away from mommy and hide to get into trouble, I learned to walk so that I could run to Jesus in times of trouble.
Looking back at the opening verse we see that as we become weaker, we then learn to depend on Jesus and His strengths. See we can depend on ourselves in our limited power, or learn to depend on Jesus and His infinite, unlimited, and inexhaustible power. Power, power, wonder working power.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
It is not about being able to see how many steps we can take without Him, but how many steps can I take with Him. Not how long on my own, but how much time with Him. Not how much can I do without Him, but how much can I do with Him. As we grow stronger we grow closer.