Good morning friends and thank you for joining us for another session in ILF’s Holistic ministry education. I like to start our time together with a prayer to invite the Holy Spirit filling this space as we discuss today’s topic and open our heart and mind to receive it in Jesus name. God bless you.
Before we start this week’s lesson, I like to share with you how proud we are of this amazing group of faithful believers and your hunger for learning and practicing God’s word everyday serving through ILF ministry. Please know that we also are learning from you through each mature and heart felt commentaries that you share every week and we are grateful for that.
This week’s topic is *Dependence*:
When we talk about dependence, we usually think about strong characters in our lives who we often rely on. To describe their strength, we use phrases like self-sufficient, independent, capable and often idolize people who poses such qualities, like our parents, our political heroes, our friends, our spouse or even ourselves at times. And when they fall short of our expectation, we often plea our disappointment to God and pose the question *why*!
So why is it that people closest to us fail us, why the heroes in our lives fail us, why the sources of our trust, our strength, and our hope fail us repeatedly. We all have experienced that friends. It is an unavoidable notion that we will continue to struggle with if our dependence continually relies on the flesh and the world. *When our dependence relies on the created rather than the creator*.
I like to share a story with you: I knew a man once who was born and raised in a Muslim community, much like many of you. Through his upbringing, he experienced the injustice and the struggle of the world around him. Disappointed in God and in search for answers, he struggled to reconcile the unfairness and the hypocrisy of the mankind. An unhealthy journey that led him to a place where his disappointment turned in to resentment and his resentment to anger and his anger to defiance and ultimately denial of the existence of God, much less the fairness of God’s sovereignty. *That man my friends, was Cyrus Mafi who since was saved by the grace of God and the shed blood of Jesus Christ*.
Today, I’m still a work in progress. I am not where I want to be, but definitely not where I was either. Every day, I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me in the freedom to share the love of a God who loved me first “_God who loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life_”. *John 3:16*
Friends, when our difficult circumstances involve betrayal or abandonment, it can be tempting to withdraw from others. But God demonstrates His own love and goodness through our love for each other *1 John 4:12* says: “_No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us_”. When we commit to a community of believers, we may live imperfectly together while rejoicing in Christ’s perfection. We can be vulnerable and acknowledge our need for grace, rather than holding on to a mask of perfection. *It is in dependence on God where we can find accountability, maturity, and fellowship with others*.
As members of ILF ministry, we are to rely and depend on God and at the same time learn to lean on our brothers and sisters in Christ. After all, we are human, created in the image of God and designed for relationship, accountability, and discipleship;
And even though we fail to rely on God at times, we should take comfort knowing that He never fails to extend His grace to us through Jesus Christ as Paul points out in *2 Corinthian 12:9* “_But he said to me_, “_My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness_.” _Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me_.
What a great testimony to the grace of God and the power of Christ – which is made perfect in our weaknesses. No matter what you and I are facing and no matter what tests and trials we may face, we have God’s full assurance that His grace is sufficient for all adversities that may face from time to time.
May we like Paul be able to boast all the more gladly in our own weaknesses and frailty, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us so that we can rely and depend on God’s saving grace in all circumstances.
As we close today’s session, it is our prayers and hope that as we gradually mature in the habit of reliance on God in our ministry, every failure along the way may bring another opportunity to rely on His sufficient grace. Even though, we may struggle in heart, body and mind at times, even though we may fail one another or our community at times, may our ultimate dependence on God be demonstrated through embracing His undeserved grace and never-failing love.
Would you a take a moment and meditate on this truth. Would you reflect on a time that you put your dependence on something other than God? What was the outcome? How did it feel? Did God’s grace intervein? How did that feel? And *how does the dependence on God is impacting your service through ILF ministry*?
God bless you all and looking forward to your commentaries.