This weekend, my neighbours south of the border celebrate their nation’s birthday.
July 4th is known as Independence Day for our American friends. There is much to admire about their yearning for freedom and their hard-won independence.
On the whole, independence is a good thing. We try to foster independence in our children, and rejoice when they’re finally able to do tasks for themselves, such as tying their own shoelaces or making their own beds (although some teenagers never seem to master this one).
But as Christians, we have a slightly different take on independence. We’re called to live “in dependence” on God, not independent of Him.
We depend on God for our very lives; for each breath we take; for our next heartbeat:
“For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28 NIV)
“I was dependent on you from birth; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” (Psalm 22:10 ISV)
Scripture tells us to depend on our Heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance, and not to fall into the trap of thinking we can figure everything out ourselves:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)
We’re urged to remember that every good thing in our lives comes from Him, including the rain necessary to water our crops:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV)
“God thunders wondrously with His voice; He does great things we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the gentle rain, ‘Pour out a mighty downpour.’ ” (Job 37:5-6 ISV)
We even depend on God for the ability and strength to earn a living:
“Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful.” (Deuteronomy 8:18a NLT)
We’re enjoined to always be aware of our dependence on God, and particularly of our dependence on Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross to atone for our sins. No person is able to save themselves: we’re completely reliant on Jesus. We need Him continuously throughout our lives: as the old hymn goes, we need Him every hour.
“So then, just as you have received the Messiah Jesus the Lord, continue to live dependent on him.” (Colossians 2:6 ISV)
If we’re dependent on God for our breath and life, for every good thing we receive, for our ability to earn an income, for the food we eat and the earth which produces it, for wisdom and guidance, for forgiveness and for the gift of eternal life, shouldn’t we acknowledge that dependence regularly with humility and gratitude?
While our American friends celebrate their independence on July 4th, perhaps Christians all around the world can think of that day and indeed every day as “In Dependence Day.”
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.