Dependence: Acknowledging Your Desperate Need

In our discipleship efforts, we never reach the point where we can depend upon our own strength. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.

  • Distinctive Discipleship – Designing Specific Plans for Christian Maturity
  • Category #6: Dependence
  • “Struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Col. 1:28).


  • How responsible am I for my spiritual growth?
  • Two dangerous extremes:
    1. Entitled people reject the responsibility for their personal spiritual growth.
    2. Independent people assume the responsibility for their personal spiritual growth.
  • Effective disciples are those who work hard with God’s power working hard through them.


John 15:1-11

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

  • How noticeable is my growth right now?
  • God works with each one of us based upon the type of fruit we are currently producing (15:1-3).
  • I am incapable of doing anything spiritually worthwhile in my own strength (15:4-5).
  • Our dependence on Christ does not imply inactivity but promotes diligence to those things which strengthen our connection (15:6-7).
  • The more connected we are to Jesus, the more fruitful we are, and the greater our joy proves to be (15:8-11).


  • What do I depend on God to do?
  • Your proximity to the King is directly proportional to your productivity for the Kingdom.
  • Doing works for Jesus is different than doing works with Jesus.
  • Your spiritual growth is contingent upon how intently you protect your connection to Jesus.
  • My prayers of dependence will ask God to:
  • Are your prayers specific? Are they gaugeable?