Have you ever met someone too proud to admit that they need help? I know this is something that I wrestle with. Why is it that none of us want to rely on other people? Ultimately, because we want to be God. This base rebellion is at the core of our desires towards sin; we don’t like to be told what to do. Whenever we are determined in such an independent fashion, we do in fact place ourselves in the position of God. Because God alone is independent and without need.
Instead, you and I are rather needy, and that’s a good thing. It’s when we deny this neediness that we often find ourselves in trouble. For example, where in your lives are you not dependent? Think about your clothes: Did you make them? Did you harvest the raw materials to produce them? And such a line of question finds a near infinite breadth of targets in our jobs, our food, even our very breathing! You and I are far more dependent than any of us would like to admit.
Our dependency is true physically, but it is also true spiritually. We stand as debtors before God. However, rather than functioning as a detriment, our neediness is a gift. For it is only when we begin to view ourselves as spiritually bankrupt before the Lord that we are perfectly postured to receive what we need from His hand. For the Lord Jesus Christ taught us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 ESV)
You are not precious and valuable to God today, because you have something to offer Him. God is not a buyer looking to procure some unique commodity which you alone can provide. He is not looking for souls which are doing perfectly well, having all their proverbial “ducks in a row”. The Lord Jesus Christ is seeking spiritual vagabonds. He is seeking after people who are wrecked, and unable to stand on their own two feet. God is seeking people who are not ashamed to admit that what they need most, they simply cannot provide for themselves. In short God is seeking “the poor in spirit” who cry out, “Christ, have mercy upon us!”
Are you poor in spirit today? Or are you hoping to peddle the fool’s gold known as self-reliance? The Bible teaches us that in order to be rich, we must be poor. Sinclair Ferguson, one of my favorite pastors, puts it this way, “Jesus is describing the person who sees his spiritual bondage, is conscious of the debt of his sins … All he can do is cry for mercy, and depend upon the Lord. No one can be a Christian without this spirit.”
In short, we must admit our need. We are powerless. We are weak. Left to ourselves, our lives will never, ever change. However, this dependency is not problematic, and we already know it. My two-year old daughter does not yet (and I emphasis “yet”) know how to perfectly grill a medium-rare steak. She needs to be cared for and provided for. No one is upset that she needs to be cared for. We recognize this as parents, and do not hold it against our little ones. Their dependence upon us is a display of the love, affection, and trust that they have for us. It is no different in our relationship to God.
In order to be a Christian, we must first renounce ourselves, and profess our need for a Savior. We must cry out for His help. What we need most, we simply cannot provide. Until you are willing to admit this, Christ is of no use to you. Why would He be? You can save yourself.
The Lord Jesus welcomes people like us into His kingdom because of His hard work, not ours. He does so because of His obedience, not ours. He does so because His blood and Spirit cleanses us from every stain of guilt. Heaven does not shake because we were allowed in through Christ. Heaven shakes because of the roars of joy at Christ’s work of leading sinners such as us into His glorious salvation (Luke 15:7, 10). This is the heart of the Christian faith. May we never lose sight of it. May we thank God for it. May we share it with someone else, who may also cause heaven to sing by your faithful witness and invitation.
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