Typically when we mature we become more independent. We figure things out and don’t need outside help. The goal is to be jettisoned to go on our way, maybe even forge new paths with new ideas and create our own variations. This occurs in the workplace where we get out from under our preceptors, teachers, apprenticeships and enter our professions as independents.
However, this is totally counter to our faith journey. As followers of Jesus the marker of gaining in maturity is more reliance on Jesus, not independence.
As we see our sin, depravity, and our inability to do things on our own we learn to lean more on Jesus. Better yet – the more we study Jesus and mature, the more we see his goodness, grace, mercy, wisdom, and love which naturally causes us to desire him more.
In Romans 7: 18-25 Paul struggles with: “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”, and he cries out to Jesus: “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
And Jesus himself invites us into a relationship with him. In John 15:1-7 Jesus invites us to abide in him, to: “stay connected to the vine”, and we are told “apart from me you can do nothing.” We are told to: “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Pro 3:5). We are told to imitate him (1 Cor 11:1), and to walk as Jesus did (1 Jn 2:6).
As we mature as Christ followers we become more dependent on him, so as to be more like him. As men we don’t want to be dependent on anyone or anything. But to be a real man is to face up to the fact, the truth, that you need Jesus.