Crutches are an extremely helpful medical device if you are taken lame by either injury or surgical intervention. The premise is simple. Pop them under your arms and let them bear your wait so that you can stand and ambulate.
Of course, they’ve become quite the metaphor for “weak” people needing to lean on something or someone to be able to get along in life.
The last words you want to hear is someone telling you that you are leaning on a crutch in life. They might as well say, “Man, what’s wrong with you? You’re so weak and impotent. Grow up and stand on your own two feet.”
If you are a Christian, you’re probably no stranger to someone accusing you of leaning on your faith as a crutch.
To that point, author/speaker Mark Cahill has this to say:
Next time you hear someone say that Christianity is just a crutch for weak people say, "Yes, it is. I've had a bad fall into sin and I'm crippled. Without Jesus, I can do nothing!!"
"... for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5, NIV).
Own your crutch! Wear it like a badge of honor. Place your whole weight squarely on Jesus. Yoke yourself to Him, and He will bear your obligation, your sin, your burden. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30, NIV).
Every person you know, given the right set of circumstances, will disappoint you. Many of them probably have already! Who hasn’t been the victim of broken promises, or lying, or betrayal, or even abuse?
Don’t take it too personally. People are fallen, self-centered creatures. Even by human standards, we are all dysfunctional, unable to love the way God intended. So, in order to maximize the benefits of your various relationships, you must learn to keep your dependency on others in proper perspective.
Remember the training wheels that helped you to learn how to ride your bike when you were a kid? You must come to see people as training wheels, preparing you for something bigger.
In these relationships you learned the importance of telling the truth and of keeping promises; you learned how to find comfort and receive assurance; you learned how to serve and to be served. You also learned to look to people for affirmation and inspiration. This dependency was necessary for your social development and maturity.
But at some point, as you became more skilled, the training wheels began to scrape and bump the road, slowing you down. They also prevented you from leaning into the turns and enjoying the full experience of the ride. Training wheels are great for learning how to ride, but eventually, they will begin to hold you back.
Your dependency on people works the same way. At some point, you will discover that dependency on people has made the journey more difficult. Rather than just propping you up, you begin to see that the people in your life do just as much to hold you back.
No one enters the Tour de France with training wheels. Neither can you break free so long as you are riding through life depending on people when you should be leaning entirely on God. For it is only when the wheels are finally removed, and the drag and restrictions are gone, that you will finally be able to ride freely.
The hope and trust we have been taught to place in people finds its rightful place in God. Unlike people, God loves us perfectly. The comfort He offers us isn’t temporary or fickle, but eternal and sure. He will never lie to us, never betray us and never abuse us. He is our joy and our reason for living.
So, never forget, people are training wheels, God is the ride!
"This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord ... “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him" (Jeremiah 17:5,7).
There is perhaps no greater picture of total dependence than that of an infant rooting for its mother’s milk. The toddler may insist on holding a cup of milk by himself, but he is just as dependent on his parents to provide it. And the dairy farmer, who owns the cows that produce the milk, is just as dependent on his Creator to provide the straw needed to feed his cows.
At some point in our growth and development, most of us begin to think that we have arrived at a point of independence. We make the mistake of thinking that by taking on more responsibility, we have become independent.
But we never have, nor will we ever, create our own necessary food, or the universe in which it is cultivated, or the people who grow it, or the teeth that crush it, or the saliva the begins to break it down, or the stomach that digests it, or the biological system that delivers it to the individual cells of the body.
At the height of our abilities, we only ever play a minuscule role in providing for ourselves. But that doesn't stop us from looking at our successes and thinking, "I've got this."
The truth of the matter is that we don't have this, but God does have us. Let a stroke take that tiny part of our independence away and we very quickly come to the realization of just how totally dependent on God we really are.
The point is God has a purpose not just for the provisions He provides but even for the trials that seem to set us back. Blind and arrogant as we are to our total dependence on God, we often need His help to see the truth. Sometimes that help comes in the form of helplessness.
"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" (2 Corinthians 12:9).