If you have lived in America for any length of time, you have probably heard the idiom “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” While I might be taking some liberty with the meaning, the phrase implies that we can, using our own effort, tackle any challenging situation. In other words, we don’t have to rely on anyone. We are independent.
The concept of independence originated in Genesis when Adam and Eve traded dependence on God for dependence on self. Independence basically means thinking of oneself, not relying on or being influenced by others.
God’s plan for us from the beginning was to live with him in relationship, in complete harmony. Man thought he knew better, however. Sin was introduced into the garden, and sin always has consequences. I realize this is a little hard to swallow. None of us want to believe that at our core we have a sin nature. In fact, if you listen to popular culture, you might buy into the widely held belief that we are all by nature “good.” Let’s test that out for a moment.
Now that I am “MeMa”, I get to be around toddlers. I have to admit, it is one of my favorite things to do these days! If you hang out around little ones for very long, you might hear something like….:
“I want to do it by myself.”
“No! Let me!”
I might add that these statements are usually made with great emotion and many times with no prior modeling by parents. Educators see this all the time in children. By nature, most want to be independent. They don’t want to share. They don’t want to take turns. They are focused on self. While I am describing children, many may be thinking of adults that possess these same traits.
Until we come to a faith saving belief and dependence on the person Jesus, we will continue to journey alone. We will be independent, unable to access the power of an Almighty God.
With Jesus as Lord of our life, the concept of independence takes on new meaning. We have the opportunity to trade our independence for a dependence on God who is:
· All powerful
· All knowing
This is easier said than done. The sin nature is still present. We still have this desire to be independent, to rely on ourselves. Why do you think the following verses are in the Bible?
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
God provides the power, but living the life God has called us to takes action on our part. It takes faith. It takes obedience. It takes trust. We must trade our independence for dependence on Him. DAILY.
Dependence isn’t a bad thing when we are depending on the relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ. In no other relationship are we loved unconditionally, forgiven before we even mess up, and accepted for who we are. God loves you. He really does. We don’t need bootstraps – thank goodness!