Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Independence Is An Illusion

The great dream of a lot of people is to be their own boss. Starting from childhood we strive to be independent, capable of looking after ourselves. As teens we dreamed of the day we would be out on our own, making our own rules. As adults we looked for some way of creating our own business so we would not have a boss to whom to answer. But it is all just a great illusion.

There is no real independence because there is always some kind of authority over us. We have the laws of society. We have the government and all their regulations. If we own a house we are subject to the municipal by-laws. If we are renting we are subject to the landlord. If we buy a car and finance it we are subject to the bank. The same with a house. If we are married we are governed by our responsibilities of relationship with our spouse. If we are parents we are governed by our responsibilities to our children. Even as pet owners we subject ourselves to the governance of responsibility. Independence is an illusion.

Christians should clearly understand that if this is true for a physical world it is even more so for the spiritual. No one is free and independent. Everyone is subject to their sinful nature. Those who have been freed from this bondage have become subject to Jesus' righteousness. Paul, the apostle, told us we have a basic choice: We can be slaves to our sinful nature or we can be slaves to Yahweh's righteousness. Whatever our choice, we are slaves to whatever we serve.

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus by offering him a short-cut to ruling over the earth, avoiding the cross, Jesus quickly put him in his place by reminding him of the order of things:

“Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” (Luke 4:8)

Jesus had not illusion of independence. Here is the Word of God incarnate, the Son of God, who set aside the divine to come as one of us, to die in our place, all at the will of Father. Jesus could not do this unless he kept his place and attitude as a servant. No short cuts. No easy fixes. No subjecting everything to the approval of his own will. He came to serve. In fact. we find these same words when Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from the cross. If you remember, Peter had just confessed Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. When Jesus started explaining how things were going to play out, Peter got after Jesus and told him that this was not the way. He wanted Jesus to avoid the cross. Jesus turned to Peter and said:

“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)

Seeking individuality, independence, our own glory, is a sign of spiritual immaturity and a lack of understanding concerning our relationship with Father. We are his children but we are children who serve the Father. Our concern should not be for ourselves but for the will of the One we serve. We should not be trying to achieve greater independence but instead we should be striving to learn greater dependency on the Spirit, learning to do the will of the Father. We need to begin to say to many things and people in our lives "Get behind me, Satan" as we worship the Lord our God, and him only serve.

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