Yes, you read that title correctly. I know this is the time of year for cookouts, fireworks, and celebrating our nation’s INDEPENDENCE. And what a celebration that is! Freedom and independence from tyranny are always worth celebrating, and I definitely will be among those joining in that celebration this week.
I have been pondering another reason for celebration in the last few weeks though. As a follower of Christ, I want to celebrate my DEPENDENCE on Him.
That little cutie is my nephew, Jack. Isn’t he adorable? I might be slightly biased, but honestly, I don’t think there’s ever been a sweeter face than that. Now, Jack isn’t this little anymore. He’s growing and changing faster than I can even tell you. But back when he was this little guy, I had the honor and privilege of spending my summers with him and his brothers.
I can remember at this stage, when I would try to help Jack with something like putting his shoes on or cutting his food into manageable bites, he would put his little hand out and say, “No! Jack got this!” Well, the truth of the matter was, Jack didn’t “got this.” He desperately wanted to do everything for himself, and he did not want my help. Typically, what would happen next is that he would struggle to do the task at hand for a little while. Then, after struggling, when help was offered again, he would begrudgingly accept it.
So, what does that have to do with celebrating dependence? Well, I don’t know if you can relate or not, but lots of times, I’m just like that little boy. I’m in a situation that is too big for me, and instead of accepting the help that my Father is offering, I throw my hand out and say, “No! Dana got this.” Now, I don’t say it out loud, and maybe I wouldn’t even admit it, but that is what my heart is saying. Ridiculous, right? And being the amazing Father that God is, He doesn’t rescind His offer, but He patiently waits while I struggle to do it on my own and then realize that I don’t “got this.”
You see, the truth is I need God for everything. Yes, everything. Here’s what Jesus said –
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Notice, He didn’t say, “You can do some of the easier things,” or “Make sure you call on me when things seem too hard for you.” He said “nothing.” Nothing. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Oh, we can sure try, and if you’re like me, sometimes we do. What He is telling us is that the only way we can do anything of value is if we are abiding in Him and depending on Him. The things we do apart from Him will fall flat.
Over and over again in Scripture, God tells us that He is our help or our Helper. What an amazing thought – the Creator of the universe wants to help us! Here are just a few of those verses –
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” Psalm 54:4
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
There are many more verses like these. Amazing help is offered to us. So, the choice is ours. Will we accept the help that is being offered to us, or will we choose to deny our need and our dependence? Will we let go of the tendency to try to handle life’s situations on our own and forego the struggle that is inevitable if we insist on doing things in our own strength?
This is true freedom in our lives as Christ followers – our total dependence on Jesus.
This week, while we join with all of our fellow citizens in celebrating the great freedom and independence we have in this country, let’s also be sure to celebrate our DEPENDENCE on the One Who has given us everything we need for life and godliness.
Apart from Him, we can do nothing.