In America, the Fourth of July is all about Independence. But I declare to you today that independence can go too far – that in fact those who walk the Jesus Path are, if anything, called to live with ever deepening dependence upon the Living God. In this study we will examine four areas in which all persons are tempted into going it alone, into over reliance on self; in short – into too much independence:
- We are not Independent from Authority
- We are not Independent from Bondage
- We are not Independent from Instruction
- We are not Independent from Consequence
We are not Independent from Authority
WIthout the guidance, protection and structure of God ordained authority in our lives humans are left to their own devices.
- In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes – Judges 21:25
Without the faithful and righteous action of authority, each person decides for themself what is right and what is wrong. Our society is replete with examples of this. We have become our own “god” our own “oracle.”
- For you will no longer remember the Oracle of the Lord because every man’s own word will become the oracle – Jeremiah 23:36
This open, untethered willpower to choose as each one wants is not the prescription found in the Bible. We are to understand and submit to authority, it is a deception to believe differently.
- Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God – Romans 13:1
- Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves – Romans 13:2
- Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king – 1 Peter 2:17
We are not Independent from Bondage
Such a proclamation rubs people the wrong way. What bondage, they ask. But the question is one of spiritual bondage, a concept beyond the reckoning of those who live only for selfish indulgence – the person the Bible calls the “natural man”
- But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised – 1 Corinthians 2:14
To stand on Bible ground is to embrace the clear message that we are slaves to sin, to our own desires and impulses.
- All of us like sheep have gone astray, each has turned to his own way – Isaiah 53:6
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23
- Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin – John 8:34
- We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin – Romans 7:14
- So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world – Galatians 4:3
The Bible instructs us clearly that child of God, through the completed work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross become free from this bondage; freed from the illusion that we are not free when we are not:
- Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty – 2 Corinthians 3:17
- For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit – 1 Peter 3:18
- If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed – John 8:36 KJV
We are not Independent from Instruction
Something inside us tends to stiffen when others speak instruction into our living. We bridle and chafe at the impudence – getting angry at the liberties people take. We know the way we want to go.
- There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of destruction – Proverbs 14:12
- The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer – Proverbs 26:16
To stand on Bible Ground is to make a clean break from the pride and ego of thinking you know it all. In a word, you don’t. The Word encourages us to pay attention to the Word. The reason is pretty easy to figure – we don’t think like God does.
- Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will walk in them – Hosea 14:9
- For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts – Isaiah 55:8-9
- If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free – John 8:31-32
We are not Independent from Consequence
It’s epidemic in our modern society that people act without thought of the cost of their actions, without considerations or care for repercussions. This is clearly evidenced in the ever-eroding moral values. If we stop to consider God at all, we act if He is not involved; that His view of our actions doesn’t matter. That for all practical purposes He doesn’t really see what’s going on.
- Does He not see my ways and number all my steps? – Job 33:21
- Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the Lord – Jeremiah 23:24
- You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you. For you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me’ – Isaiah 47:10
- But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned – Matthew 12:36-37
- Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops – Luke 12:3
- For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad – 2 Corinthians 5:10
We don’t want to deal with this of course. Paul was speaking this message to Felix who was made nervous by its import and who – characteristic of all of us – determines not to deal with it – to put it off; to return to his own worldview and ignore the consequences made clear in the Word.
- But as Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you” – Acts 24:25
Now all this is independence stuff can go to far in the life of the Believer. We can become deceived by it. So today permit me to declare Dependence Day. Let today be the day that you and I turn and run into the arms of the Lord. Let us flee the trappings and deceptions of the world system and learn to depend upon the grace and power of the Most High God.
- For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls – 1 Peter 2:25
- He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark – Psalm 91:4
- The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe – Proverbs 18:10
- Let him rely on My protection, let him make peace with Me, let him make peace with Me – Isaiah 27:5
- See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are – 1 John 3:1
- And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them – Mark 10:16
We have become infatuated with our own independence. And this secular impetus can be felt in our spiritual and religious practice. It’s time to knock it off. Please enjoy the video as it will fill in some of the blanks. May the Lord Bless You as You Go!