In our country, we celebrate American Independence Day on July 4th. This represents the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the day the Continental Congress approved the final wording of this important document. The Colonists, having already declared their independence from the authority and tyrannical rule of the British crown on July 2nd, 1776, two days later, 56 delegates to the Continental Congress signed their names to the parchment paper.
In-Dependence On God
Now as important as this day is in the life of our great nation for our independence, I pray we will be reminded to declare our utter dependence upon God, not only on this day, but every day throughout the year. As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to be living IN-DEPENDENCE upon God to satisfy our every physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual need, every step of the way into glory. When teaching about the Vine and the Branches, Jesus makes it crystal clear just how important it is to live IN-DEPENDENCE upon God.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the world I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1-5).
In the Garden
In my pastoral ministry, I encounter many people who mistakenly believe our dependence upon God began after Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden. Not true! Before the first sin entered into humanity, Adam and Eve were totally dependent upon God for everything. Their divine design was one of utter dependence upon Omnipotence. They were made by God, for God and were never to live a single moment independent from God. Self-reliance, self-sufficiency and self-rule were never a part of their divine design. Rather, these sins of “self” were the immediate and visible fruits of their rebellion against God in seeking autonomy from the Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’” (Genesis 2:16-17).
With every imaginable provision and only one prohibition, the serpent convinced Adam and Eve to seek independence from God and live above and apart from the One who created them with these words, “You will not certainly die. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4). They bought into the devil’s lie and immediately found out just how dependent they were upon God. Only now, they were dependent upon God for His mercy (not getting what they deserved), and grace (getting what they did not deserve), which they were promised in the first gospel proclamation in the Bible.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel . . . And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothes them” (Genesis 3:15, 21).
God would have been totally justified to strike both of them dead right on the spot to satisfy His holy justice. But He did not. What God’s justice required . . . payment for sin . . . God’s undeserved mercy and unmerited grace provided in the giving of His precious Son, Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve were totally dependent upon God for life prior to sin and they were totally dependent upon God for life after sin by believing in God’s promise that would ultimately find it’s fulfillment through the sinless life, sacrificial death and supernatural resurrection of Christ.
Meaning, significance and purpose
When was the last time you considered just how dependent you are upon God? For most people, they immediately reflect back on a season of struggle, suffering or sorrow and how God and God alone brought them through it. But what about the times in life when the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and the sun is brightly shining? In seasons of plenty and prosperity, abundance and affluence, we all have a tendency to forget about our total dependence upon God.
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 8:18).
Regardless of where this finds you, your next breath is dependent upon God. Your hearing, eyesight, and the circulation of your blood are dependent upon God. If God were not upholding you right now, you would cease to exist. This is true not only for you, but for everyone and everything that was ever created. Everything was created by God, for God, and is totally dependent upon God, and it originally existed as a holy hymn for His glory. So, as we celebrate our independence as a nation this July 4th, let us all be reminded of our total dependence upon God, “for in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The Bible makes it clear that the person who is most aware of his dependence upon God is most often pursuing God through His Word, prayer and corporate worship. The more you feel your need for Him, the more time you will spend with Him. If your time in the Word, on your knees and in church is short or shallow, you can be assured your sense of dependency upon God is short circuited. To be sure, the Bible is full of examples of saints sold out in pursuing God by any means necessary. The model of course is our Master who was in constant communion with His Father in heaven, through the Word, prayer, corporate worship in the synagogue as was His custom.
Remember, to live IN-DEPENDENCE upon God is the only way to live a life of meaning, significance and purpose. This is the life that leaves a lasting legacy under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. What better time than right now as we celebrate Independence Day, to declare and celebrate our total dependence upon the One who said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Have a blessed Independence Day, as you live increasingly IN-DEPENDENCE upon God all the days of your life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Dr. Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach (www.thecrosscc.org). He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.
For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.