There was a time I railed against the statement that Christianity is a crutch. As a Christian, it seemed personally demeaning and degrading. As I reflect back on that time and my reactions to that statement, I realize I found it demeaning and degrading because at some level I did not believe I needed a crutch, that I was strong and capable and could live life on my own. My faith was a wonderful addition to my life and played an important role, but was not really needed in the same way someone with a broken leg would need a crutch.
Yet, with the passage of time and maybe a little wisdom, I have realized I desperately do need a crutch. I am broken, cracked, foolish, and left on my own, downright dangerous. I easily, and too quickly, wander away from Jesus. And before I know it, I have fallen over and cannot get up. I need help. I need my crutch. And I don’t need it for only a few weeks I will need this crutch of faith until God, who began a good work in me, completes it. This crutch is going to be with me for a while, maybe a long while. I am coming to grips with this truth – I am weak, I have limitations and I need help. I need a crutch. So, in the meantime, I beg you to not seek to convince me I have been healed and no longer need my crutch – for though I have been and am being healed in significant ways, I still need my crutch; I am inherently weak and fractured. And if you happen to see me without my crutch, please admonish me to pick it up again or at least hang around until I topple over so you can help me up and carry me back to Jesus.
Now, please do not pity me. I used to run and jump and carry on and I do not miss it. Believe it or not, there is something wonderfully freeing about naming, owning and embracing my need for my crutch—my need for Jesus. It allows me to live life more fully, without the need to pretend to be something than I am not. It reduces the expectations placed on me by others and even by myself. It gives me the opportunity to see God’s strength manifested in and through my weakness and experience firsthand that God’s grace is sufficient. It creates dependency on Jesus and continually reminds me that apart from Christ I can do nothing, but with Christ all things are possible. My crutch takes me again and again to Jesus, acknowledging my need and in turn experiencing the wonderful love, power and wisdom of Jesus. My crutch is a reminder of the goodness, grace and mercy of God. It reminds me of a life lived, a life given in my place. It reminds me of my Savior, Lord and Friend who although He knew no sin, became sin that I might become the righteousness of God; and that by His wounds I am healed. I am being healed and one day my faith will turn to sight and I will no longer need my crutch. What a glorious day that will be. But for now my crutch encourages me to live in Christ, to stay connected to Christ and to depend on Christ.
Finally, owning my need for a crutch also becomes a wonderful tool for sharing the gospel. For example, one day, I was on a plane when a young man next to me asked where I was coming from. I told him I was returning from a conference for pastors. He told me that religion was a crutch and he did not need a crutch. I said that I agreed with the first part of his statement that religion, or in my case Christianity, is a crutch. But unlike him, I realized in this world I desperately needed a crutch and explained why. The conversation allowed me to share the gospel and more importantly, gave the gentlemen another way to think about his own needs and God’s provision.
Related Scriptures: 2 Cor. 12:9-10, John 15:5, Pro. 16:18-19, Phil. 1:6, 2 Cor. 5:21.
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