Today our country celebrates Independence Day. We commemorate one of the fundamental values of the United States of America. I am a citizen of the U.S.A and for that I thank our sovereign God who determines “the boundaries of [our] dwelling place” (Acts 17:26). More importantly, however, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means celebrating independence is not as important as declaring dependence.
Let me encourage your meditation with two thoughts on independence.
First, independence is ultimately an illusion. It does not exist. Every creature on the planet is dependent upon the Creator, whether consciously realized or not. “For [Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Moreover, “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Every breath and bite a person takes is a gift of God’s common grace. We must recognize the illusion of our independence lest we live as cosmic ingrates. Declaring our dependence means we never cease giving thanks to God for everything—including our nation’s independence and the freedoms we find herein.
Second, clamoring for independence is inevitably destructive. Temptation’s lure often comes dressed to entice our desire for autonomy. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent enticed Eve with the phantom promise that if she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then she would “be like God” (Gn. 3:5). Intrigued by the prospect of becoming like God in a self-governing, independent sense, both Adam and Eve sinned against God. Clamoring for independence resulted in our fallen world.
In redemptive contrast, the promised seed of the woman refused to clamor for independence (Gn. 3:15). Instead, the Messiah lived a life utterly dependent upon His Heavenly Father. As a result, Jesus’s death on the cross fully atoned for our incessant, albeit illusory and destructive, attempts to acquire independence. The seed of sin was sown in our desire for independence from God. Yet, the seed of salvation was sown in Jesus’s humble dependence upon God, whereby He became “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). For that, we are forever grateful because our salvation is dependent upon Jesus’s dependence.
As followers of Jesus Christ, let’s celebrate our nation’s independence by (re)declaring our dependence upon God for life and salvation. By God’s sovereign grace, we are privileged to do so in a country that does not yet infringe upon our freedom to do so.