Independence & Dependence
As we approach a day on which America celebrates its independence, it seems appropriate to take a look at biblical dependence. For many of us, we take great pride in the American way. We live in a highly individualized society that seeks to be independent from employers, friends, and even family. With employers, we no longer find our identities in our jobs like the generations that came before. Rather, we often let our employers know that we will accept a better offer if it comes. With regard to friends, too seldom do we strive for deep and lasting relationships. Isn’t it true that we often tempted to count our friends by the number of “friends” that we have on Facebook? This can make them seem almost disposable. Finally, the family unit has also become less and less valued in our society. Even spouses seem replaceable. Right, wrong, or indifferent –this is the way our independent society has become. Is this the best way, though?
Given that I am a pastor, you should not be surprised by where I am going with this. I believe that the better way is a deep dependence upon God. John 15:5 reads, “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.” According to Jesus, all humanity is dependent upon Him for life. For a moment, let us consider the metaphor that Jesus used. I am currently attempting to grow tomatoes in my yard. When I was planting one of the tomato plants, a branch snapped. However, I was not aware of it at the time. A couple days passed, though, and the branch died. Why did it die? It died because it was no longer dependent upon the vine for its life.
Maybe you have never believed in God or have not taken the claims of Christianity seriously. If you are still reading this article, though, I would like to ask you a very personal question. Have you ever longed for something greater? Have you ever craved a purpose, but couldn’t seem to put your finger on it? According to Jesus, the greater life that is full of purpose is only found in a relationship with Him. Perhaps, though, you have professed faith in Jesus but feel as though you no longer find joy in Christ. The answer for both of these situations is the same. All you need to do is express your dependence upon Jesus. I am not talking about a series of steps to clean yourself up, but to enter into a relationship with the only living God.
The most famous Christian musician once wrote in Psalm 40:3-4, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Is it time for you to sing a new song? If this article has stirred something in you, I would encourage you to start investigating Jesus’ claims. Most historians would agree that there is no question about whether Jesus was the most significant historical figure in human history. Ever since the cross of Calvary, the world has gone through a dramatic change. Jesus has influenced our faith, culture, moral code, art – you name it. That being said, it is important that every person investigate Jesus for his or her self. As C.S. Lewis once said, Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord.
A pastor’s plea: I am not encouraging anyone to read this and then blindly accept what I am saying. Rather, I only ask that you take the time to investigate Jesus’ claim for yourself. Is there true life outside of dependence upon Jesus? According to Jesus’ own words, no. I am not asking you to take my word for it, but His. If He truly is the source of all life, then I believe He can answer your questions and provide you the life that you have been craving.
Todd Fletcher – Pastor of Chapel in the Hills