I often hear unbelievers make the statement that Christianity is a crutch. It’s a statement intended to insult believers—to imply that only a weak person needs religion. And, in our culture, it’s a statement that hits its mark more often than not because our culture despises weakness. We don’t want to be seen as weak. We want to be perceived as strong.
So when I hear someone say that Christianity is a crutch, I agree. I’m a guy whose legs are broken. I need that crutch. When I hear someone say Christianity is for the feeble-minded, I agree. I have a feeble mind. I need the gospel to give me a right mind. When I hear someone say Christianity is something that weak people need, I agree. Weak people need it. I’m weak, and so are you. You just don’t know you’re weak.
This is the message of Romans 5:6: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
When we were at our weakest, God rescued us at the appointed time. This is the gospel. This is good news invading dark spaces. It allows us to stop looking inside of ourselves to solve our problems—because we are the problem. It allows us to acknowledge our weakness head-on. We stop saying, “I’m going to get better for you Lord,” because we realize we can’t. On our best day, we will fall woefully short of God’s expectations. Yet God has intervened on our behalf by sending Christ to die at just the right time.
This realization should create humility in us and cut the legs out from under Christian swagger and arrogance. We didn’t do anything. We got saved by God. We didn’t pull ourselves out of the muck and the mire. We were pulled out of the muck and mire. We were stuck. He unstuck us. We were dirty. He cleaned us.
We didn’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. That’s not the gospel. We were rescued and saved by grace alone through faith alone while we were still weak. God alone gets the glory. When we understand that, we stop leaning on the fragile, pathetic crutches of work, family, money, possessions or ministry that we have used to validate ourselves. We repent before the Lord and begin to find satisfaction in Him.
The gospel frees us up from needing anyone to clap and say, “Good job.” Whether people like us or not has no eternal significance whatsoever. We don’t need to give the appearance of being strong. The sobering realization that we will stand before God teaches us to be far more concerned about His approval than that of our fellow man. Only the gospel can do that.
Everything we then do becomes focused on glorifying Him. We stop worrying about seeking validation from relationships, status or possessions because we increasingly understand that God has validated us in Christ while we were weak.
When you were at your worst—weak and an enemy of God—He intervened and rescued you at that moment. And God didn’t save you to leave you in that spot but rather to mature and sanctify you. It’s why we say at The Village, “It’s okay to not be okay; it’s just not okay to stay there.” God doesn’t leave His people in the mess. He begins to lead them out of it. He gives strength to the weak.
Christianity is a crutch, and that’s good news because we’re all crippled. It’s the only crutch that can bear the weight of our brokenness. I pray God would open up your eyes to your weakness and that you would finally lean on the crutch instead of hobbling around on the busted femur of your own righteousness. God loves the weak. He saves and uses the weak to shame the strong.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” - 1 Corinthians 1:27-31