Our society idolizes independence.We say I’ve got this, but inwardly we may be drowning under the weight of our independence. We will go to great lengths to keep the facade that we have it all together. We look down upon dependence as if it were a weakness. We also call this being needy. Or to be dependent upon someone is to be seen as a burden. We say things like, well I didn’t want to be a burden so I didn’t ask you for help. To look like we have it all figured out and that we need no one is something highly valued and striven for in this world. This is a lot of work!
Please know that this is the greatest deception and lie the enemy tells us. Truth: We are told to have faith, believe, trust in, and DEPEND on God. So how crafty that the enemy wove the lie of independence into the fabric of our soul that tells us to rely on NO ONE, trust NO ONE, and depend only on yourself as a source in all things. We perpetuate the lie of independence as we train our children to be less dependent on us or anyone for anything. And we see an increase of independence as a mark of maturity in ourselves or in our children.
Christ said it was for freedom’s sake that I set you FREE! You are now free to depend on ME and not yourself! Come to me all who are weary, burdened and heavy laden for I will give you rest.
THE INDEPENDENT NATURE
There are two parts to this independent nature:
One, it tells us that we don’t need anyone to tell us what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. We don’t need permission from anyone to live our life as we deem fit. And if anyone were to tell us what to do, we’d say they have no right to interfere with our lives.
Secondly, Independent nature relies on its own resources to accomplish the things it wants to do.
The entire world and ALL its’ systems are built on this independent nature. The problem is that it bleeds through into our spiritual life, too. The independent nature is utterly contrary to the character and nature of God and can be a hindrance to our spiritual life, and we wonder why we are so exhausted and unable to find true rest.
When this independent way of thinking is carried over into our spiritual life, I call it Spiritual Independence. We think we have within ourselves the ability and resources to know and accomplish things of God. In doing so we are acting independently from God. We wouldn’t say this is what’s happening, but our actions give us away. Spiritual Independence will keep us from truly knowing and experiencing God as HE intended. Here are some questions that might reveal if the independent nature of the world has seeped into your spiritual life:
How many people have come up with their own list of right and wrong?
How many people have thought God is making you better or improving you, version 2.0?
How many people have prayed for the Lord to make them more loving, kind, patient etc?
How many people have tried their hardest to act and be more Christ-like?
How many have thought that the less you need to rely on God to be “Christ-like” means you’re spiritually maturing?
How many have thought that the more bible or theological knowledge I gain means that I know Christ more?
Spiritual Independence thinks, God is making ME into something or He is making me better. It also thinks we are the source of our own transformation, of becoming more like Christ, if I just try harder I can succeed. The Father will be proud of me when I have become more loving, kind, or patient. Once I’m better I won’t need to ask God for so much or rely on Him so much. Surely he wants His children to be independent of Him not needing Him so much. Again, we wouldn’t say this is what’s happening, but our actions have given us away. Spiritual Independence plays out in so many ways in our spiritual life that we don’t even realize it’s happening.
TRUTH: WE HAVE A DEPENDENT GOD
We have a God who is dependent. This may be hard for a strong independent mind to grasp, but God depends on His Son and the Spirit to accomplish all that He does. The Father was depending on Jesus to be His visible Image and expression on the earth. The Father and the Son were depending on the Spirit to be the life through which all this could be possible, allowing the Life to flow back and forth between the Father and Son just as it always has done for all eternity. This life flow did not stop just because the Son took on human form and walked the earth. Jesus did not live by his own understanding of how things should be or go, and He did not live by His own resources in which to accomplish the Father’s purpose. Jesus’ display of this dependent life is in stark contrast to the independent life and nature that is in this world. He also chooses to allow Himself to be dependent upon humanity. He depends on His saints, His Holy Ones, His children to be the very image and expression of His Son.
JESUS CHRIST REVEALS DIVINE DEPENDENCE
We’re told in scripture that Christ came to reveal His Father and make Him known to the world. We know that to see Christ is to see the Father. Christ is the full revelation of the Father’s eternal character and nature, and one of the things Jesus reveals to us is what divine dependence looks like and that it’s normal to be dependent.
Jesus revealed the dependent nature of the Father when He said things like, I can do or say NOTHING but what I see and hear the Father saying. This reveals one aspect of the divine dependence of the Godhead. Because Jesus was not going to act on His own accord, even though He had every right to do so. He was not going around deciding for Himself, apart from God, what needed to be done or said, unless the Father told Him. He was dependent on His Father for sight and words. This goes against the independent nature that thinks it knows better how and when something should be done or said.
Jesus was also dependent on His Father for His divine resources to accomplish His Father’s purpose. Jesus drew not from His own resource of divinity to heal or raise people from the dead, but the resource of divine Life from the Father. He only healed who the Father told Him to heal and when He told him to do it, even how to heal. He healed blindness at least three different ways. Because God did not do everything the same way every time, what we see is Jesus living a Life supplied to Him by his Father. So that He knew the when and how, and not following a form. This goes against the independent nature. Independence thinks once it sees it done a certain way that that is always the way it is to be done. Then it goes and works independently. Spiritual independence thinks it knows the form God wants and goes and does that form independently. But spiritual independence will ALWAYS miss the Life behind the form.
We were created to be dependent on another life for everything. We were always meant to live a supplied life. That life that is supplied to us is divine eternal life. We are to live dependent on having and needing a constant supply of this Life. We were never meant to figure out on our own what is right and wrong. We are meant to live trusting and depending on how God see’s things.
We are also to live by the life of another, Jesus Christ, He is our source. He is to be our love, kindness, and patience for others. We were never meant to produce on our own love, kindness, or patience. And there is only One person who can be Christ-Like and that’s Christ.
So in God’s divine plan and thought it’s ok to be dependent, needy, and always asking for Him to supply us with His life and understanding of things. I have also found that the true litmus test for our spiritual maturity is not independence but dependence – that we become increasingly dependent upon a constant supply of divine eternal life to meet the demands of this life we live on earth.