We’re celebrating independence today, but are we really free? In a number of ways we’re less free as a nation than we were just three years ago. For example, we’ve added over 4 trillion dollars of debt that our children will have to pay the interest on. Unemployment is higher, so your freedom to find a job may be limited.
But there are many kinds of freedom. What about your spiritual freedom? It can actually be limited by a hyper-focus on independence. God longs for us to subordinate our freedom and choose to become dependent, not on the state, but on him.
We have swung the pendulum so far in the direction of independence when
it comes to faith that we no longer really need God. Our stacks of
insurance policies represent an effort to minimize the chances of having
to depend on anyone other than ourselves.
Our independence hurts us most when it comes to relationships,
whether they be our relationships to God or man. God created us as
social creatures, so when teenagers disappear behind the X-box and stop
interacting with others, they actually stunt their growth. Again,
ironically, they fail to develop the very social skills that would one
day enable them to be more fully independent and able to fully choose a
Jesus came to set the captives free. He proclaimed liberty and was
forever giving people the opportunity to exercise choice – to choose to
follow him. He breaks the chains of captivity, but asks for a
relationship that limits choice, that forces dependence.
Sometimes independence is a good thing, something to be celebrated,
and sometimes it collapses inward on itself and creates a narrow,
freedom-limiting lifestyle such as befell Orson Wells’ character in Citizen Kane
. We all serve something. Even Jesus had to learn
dependence. We live in a world of inescapable interdependence. Try to
fight it and you end up caught in some prison of your own making like
living in a cabin in Montana.
So today, we need to not only celebrate our
independence from tyrants who tax too much, but move closer to our
creator who is wooing us into a relationship where we depend on him and
trust him in radical ways.
Choose your poison – what will you depend on? Where will you
invest your energies and passion? What will you rely on as a source of
hope in your life? I believe that God is wooing us, asking us to
subordinate our will and depend on him. More of us who are practiced in
the ways of independence need to swing the pendulum back in the
direction of finding ways to depend on our creator. One day we all
depend on him to resurrect us and give us a life beyond the grave – why
not begin depending on him now?