Utterly Dependent

Crazy Sheep

One of the scary realities of being utterly dependent is just how dependent “utterly” actually is.  The Lord makes us absolutely dependent.

By tying my life’s calling to the area of my greatest weakness, there’s a seemingly greater risk of my falling. For example: the liar is called to display Jesus’s truth, the drunk to be a pillar of Christ’s self-control, the sex addict an example of Christ’s purity, the murderer is to explode with Jesus’ Love. Our area of death will be the fount of Christ’s life. Our Lord doesn’t build His life on a stable ground. No, He builds in a crater of devastation. The least likely landscapes are where God chooses to build.

God doesn’t pull from our naturally astute qualities. It’s not our fine characteristics of ability that He desires. In actuality, He wants us thrown into the deep end without floaties. Look at the apostle Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrews—the highest standard of zeal and Jewish pride. Where was he sent when his life was surrendered to the Lord? To the Gentiles, who were more abreast with hedonism then being one of God’s chosen. Why would God send this man to Gentiles, when he could more easily relate and communicate the struggles of coming to the Christian faith to his fellow Jews? And then there’s Peter, a rough fisherman called by Christ. To whom was he called? To the Hebraic elite. This man, who had the least amount in common with these highly educated, staunch supporters of the Torah, was called to show them the way to Faith. Or how about the disciple John, a son of thunder? He would become the beloved of Jesus and write books about the extents of Love and Revelation rather than displaying his natural bent, which would have called down fire to lick up Christ’s opponents. These are just a few of the many examples where God calls from weakness rather than strength.

So why do I say there’s a seemingly greater risk of my falling? Let me give a minuscule example from my life. When I left Florida and moved to Georgia to work with Shulamite Ministries, I would drive about town white-knuckled most of the time. I was an angry driver. But this anger had little to do with driving on highways amongst tourists and the elderly and more to do with all of my internal frustrations. The driving was mostly a vent for inner turmoil.

I was easily aggravated because of internal trouble. So the last place I’d have put me is as shepherd of a flock of needy, untrain-able sheep and goats. I was sure that they’d test my last nerve. If it could be done wrong, they would do it. So why did God choose to put me in the field? Because He desired to be the one Shepherding, not me. “John” was a recipe for shaking-sheep-syndrome not shepherding. But my God sent me into the field in order to be a shepherd through me.

My risk of falling was by sheer proximity. Naturally, I was an angry man, and I could easily fall right back into it again with the frustration of shepherding. But I did not! I never once mistreated them; He was perfect patience and care in me. Christ was the Shepherd and showed me how He could be a shepherd through me. It was amazing. He was, what I was not. This is a minor example of how God’s calling can be to our weakness so that He can show Himself strong.

Three times I begged the Lord for it to leave me, but His reply has been, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, My power is shown the more completely.” Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses, suffering, privations, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For my very weakness makes me strong in Him.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Phillips

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    • Irene

      “He was perfect patience and care in me. Christ was the Shepherd and showed me how He could be a shepherd through me. It was amazing. He was, what I was not.” Yes, yes, yes! Christ in me, the Hope of glory. Thank you John for this encouragement today.

    • Hannah

      What an incredible post! I’ve never thought about this topic on this level…and it also never dawned on me that Paul, Peter & John operated in their weakest areas…so good. Thank you.

      • Sam

        Amen. It is an amazing post!

    • Ed


      Your down to earth examples always strike me. As a child I jumped into the deep end, forgetting that I didn’t have on my styrofoam bubble. I struggled to stay above water, sucking in water instead of air. Once I realized I couldn’t do it, I went under and was able to swim underwater to the side. I’ve always thought that I taught myself to swim that day. Now I see that God taught me to swim. When I gave up struggling He took over.


    • Susan

      “John” was a recipe for shaking-sheep-syndrome not shepherding. LOL John! But seriously a greater glory to God. Thanks for your testimony.

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