Jesus’ Discipleship pillar #3: Dependence
The importance of risk – it creates dependence on God.
God wants to partner with us, and He doesn’t want us to have any doubts about His key role in the partnership. He doesn’t want half a loaf from us, bets that are quietly being hedged. Repeatedly He tells us “test me in this.” Why? Because He wants to show Himself trustworthy. Repeatedly He seeks Gideon-sized odds. Why? Impossible odds prove that He did it. God likes the 11th hour, He wants the piggy bank emptied – He doesn’t want a fair fight; that’s why He takes Gideon’s forces from 30,000 to 10,000 to 300. That’s why David took on Goliath. That’s why the 12 disciples were given the assignment of turning the world upside down.
When we compromise or seek the easy way out, God doesn’t get to participate in His partnership with us to the extent that He’d like. He wants us to depend on Him and His resources. To make disciples, we need to ensure that they have a chance to trust God completely and exclusively.
Look at the ways that Jesus forced his disciples to depend upon God. “He told them, ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no extra tunic.'” (Luke 9:3), “You give them something to eat.” (Luke 9:13), “Go! I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals.” (Luke 10:3), “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Luke 12:32)
Jesus is in the business of restoring his kingdom to earth and using us to do it. Many of us as disciples want to build his kingdom in our own strength and resources. But Jesus’ discipling program didn’t allow for this. He gave His disciples ministry assignments, but lest there be any confusion about whose power they were to depend on, He gave them no resources. Instead, they were to depend on God for everything, even their most basic physical needs.
Day by day, moment by moment, the disciples learned to depend on God for provision. As He provided for them, they learned to trust Him more. Jesus constantly pointed out when He saw faith in people, and this was his method to build up faith in His disciples.
Tomorrow, the final pillar of discipleship, body life.
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when Jesus finished teaching them practical dependency on God, He instructed the disciples this way:
Luke 22:36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
The principle behind that was to teach them to look to God for provision. That command to his disciples was only for that time only as a part of assignment. Later they were to take Purse, bag, sword etc.
Does it mean that using purse, bag, sword etc was depending on own strength and resources?
There was at least the possibility of that happening. Our need for security is so strong, we’ll default to the easy way of doing things given the choice.