Monday, November 19, 2012
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I can still remember my wife's excited phone call that day. She said, "Honey! The baby just turned over!" Hey! He was three months old; it was a big deal. I mean, he's had a whole lot of birthdays since then, but I mean at that time it was a real milestone. It's hard to believe isn't it there was a time you couldn't turn yourself over? Can you imagine there was time you couldn't walk by yourself? You couldn't feed yourself? You're probably doing pretty well at those things now.
Well, we took pictures of all these steps toward independence as all of our kids took those steps. There was a big cause for getting that old Super 8 camera... Somebody's going, "What in the world...?" Never mind! ...this Super8 movie camera out and getting the slide film out (Come no, there was no i-phone then! You get it?). "Oh, look, he's crawling for the first time! He's walking for the first time! Take pictures! It's the first day they ever went to school." And then it happened, all three of our children were grown and out of the house, independent adults. But that's normal, right? I mean, the more you grow, the more independent you become. Right? Not necessarily.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Led By the Hand."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Acts 9. I'm going to begin reading at verse 7; it's the dramatic conversion of that persecutor of Christians, Saul of Tarsus. What a life-transforming day! Saul has just been knocked off his horse by this light from heaven; he knows now that it is the Lord he's dealing with, and verse 7 says, "The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything."
Now, Saul of Tarsus is an intelligent, gifted, passionate leader. He felt sufficient, strong. He's all grown up, right? Wrong. Saul's road to maturity begins the moment after his conversion when it says, "They led him by the hand." Isn't it interesting to see here that from the moment of Saul's rebirth, God drives him to a position of total dependency?
Later in this chapter God refers to Saul as, "My chosen instrument. I have great plans for him." You know when those plans begin? With total dependency. The more a child grows the more independent they should become. The more a child of God grows the more dependent he should become.
Usefulness to God begins with a heart breaking. God will do whatever it takes to show you that dependency is maturity when it comes to spiritual adulthood. In fact, He may be doing whatever it takes right now. Paul would have to learn humility and dependency throughout his life. The stronger you are, the more it takes for you to learn to depend.
In 2 Corinthians 1 he talks about hardships that they'd suffered almost to the point of death. And he says the reason was, "That we might not rely on ourselves but on God." He had to learn it again. Now, 2 Corinthians 12, he talks about his "thorn in the flesh that was given to him to 'keep me from being conceited.'" This strong, driven leader had to be humbled and broken, and then re-humbled and re-broken.
You say, "What strong and driven person? Paul?" In this case, I mean me. It's the Master's way to bring His strong-willed child to the end of their ability to control the situation; to make that child of His, in a sense, blind to where they need to be led by the hand. Maybe you're there now. God wants to pry open that tightly clinched hand of yours, empty it of self, and fill it with His power. Maybe He's brought you to the edge. It's going to be total dependency or total defeat.
Why don't you get you out of the way? Grow up to the point where you will let your Father feed you, let your Father carry you, let your Father lead you. You're never stronger than the moment you reach up a trembling, empty hand and say, "Father, lead me by the hand."