Dependence.

Dependence takes the form of humility, which takes the form of a servant. Humility, and being like a servant, is not thinking little of ourselves, but counting others as more important than us (Romans 12:3; Phil. 2:1-11). Dependence involves being honest before God, honest with ourselves, and honest with others.

How can we cultivate humility and daily dependence? John Stott gives some solid advice:

Thank God, often and always…. Thank God, carefully and wonderfully for your continuing privileges. . . . Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.

Take care about the confession of your sins. Be sure to criticize yourself in God’s presence: that is your self-examination. Put yourself under the divine criticism: that is your confession. . . .

Be ready to accept humiliations. They can hurt terribly, but they help you to be humble. There can be the bigger humiliations. . . . All these can be so many chances to be a little nearer to our humble and crucified Lord. . . .

Do not worry about status. . . . There is only one status that our Lord bids us to be concerned with, and that is the status of proximity to Himself. . . .

Use your sense of humor. Laugh about things, laugh at the absurdities of life, laugh about yourself, and about your own absurdity. We are all of us infinitesimally small and ludicrous creatures within God’s universe. You have to be serious, but never be solemn, because if you are solemn about anything, there is the risk of becoming solemn about yourself.”

—John Stott, The Radical Disciple: some neglected aspects of our calling, page 106, ch. 7, “Dependence,” quoting Michael Ramsey (former archbishop of Canterbury) in “Divine Humility,” ch. 11 in The Christian Priest Today, rev. ed. (London: SPCK, 1985), pp. 79-91.

 

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