Summary: Eleven ways the Holy Spirit helps us put away our false dependencies.
Laying Aside False Dependencies (I Cor 2:2-14)
Illustration: Speechwriter Peggy Noonan, in her book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, noted that appearances can be deceiving. "People never look like what they are," Noonan wrote. Of one unscrupulous businessman she commented that if we could see him as he really is, "He’d be sitting there at the dinner party with a dagger in his teeth." To all outward appearances he was an upstanding citizen, yet he was a hypocrite to the core.
Jesus called the religious leaders of His day "hypocrites" (Mt. 23:13-15). He meant that they were actors. In ancient theaters, each actor played several parts. To change identities, he would simply wear a different mask. Those religious leaders were changing masks. They were putting on a performance to win the applause of the community, but they didn’t care what they were like deep inside.
Jesus instructed us not to be like the hypocrites, who perform their religious "duties" to be seen by others (Mt. 6:1-6). He said, "When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (v.3).
God isn’t impressed by the masks we wear to get approval. Instead, He reserves His applause for those who worship Him and give themselves in love to others. (Our Daily Bread)
Oh, how we fear to drop our masks!
We know so well what lies within;
Yet Christ could use our lives to bless
If we would first be cleansed from sin. --Fasick
A false life never goes with a true faith.
1. The Holy Spirit convicts us of any form of dependency other than Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (Mark 7:6-8) Ask the Lord to help you remove any dependence on rules, regulations or traditions that hinder your allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Illustration: John Hiebert, a former bank-robber, became a Christian when he heard a bouncy tune coming from a tent-meeting in Oklahoma. The friend, He called Jesus transformed his life. He became a missionary with SIM and started a Bible school, Zabolo, in Nigeria that has trained thousands of Pastors, teachers and evangelists for fifty years. His life challenges me more than any missionary I have ever known in Africa. His life motivated me to do the same for nearly twenty years in Nigeria where the words of His favorite song became my theme song as well. Here are the words to that song:
I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tower;
I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His power.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.
He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessèd will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessèd face,
Where the rivers of delight shall ever roll.
2. The Holy Spirit exposes any reliance on culture as an excuse for yielding all our rights to God. When Jesus healed the blind man, the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. Some of the Pharisees said, "This man (Jesus) is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath. But others asked, ‘How can a sinner do such miraculous signs? So they were divided." (John 9:16,17) Ask the Lord to help you be willing to put aside your cultural assumptions to allow the Lord to open your eyes for ALL He wants you to see, believe and accomplish in His name.
3. The Holy Spirit leads you to put aside the mask of power, position or pride in order to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Resist the temptation to use your power, position or pride to manipulate people for your own advantage. Peter wrote, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (I Pet. 5:6) Ask the Lord to help you put aside your dependence on your power, position or pride enabling you to humbly trust the Lord to promote you in the best ways.