Friday, January 29, 2016

The Problem with Independence



“Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:  “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” – Luke 6:20

Imagine the disciples of Jesus and how they lived each day.  He told them not to take money, food, extra clothing, or anything with them by which they might could sustain themselves.  He told them that they would be taken care of because they would be worthy of their wages.  But He never said where those wages would come from.  He simply provided for them.  And they walked away as disciples, taking nothing.  They gave up everything – all possessions, life goals, dreams, even family, to do His will.

Now imagine yourself, today, going into God’s work and doing the same.  You don’t pack a lunch, you don’t take a coat, and you don’t take your checkbook or credit cards - not even a hair brush.  What if you had nothing of yourself and had to totally rely on what God gave you throughout this day?  What if you could say, “God I don’t know where my lunch will come from, but I trust that you will feed me.  And if it rains, I’m going to get wet because I’m not taking an umbrella – I’m relying on you.  And God, I have no cash to handle unexpected expenses, so just watch over those.”  I know it’s radical.  But do you believe He would provide for you?  Would you be closer to Him at the end of the day? 

I think God’s plan for us was not to accumulate so that we would be dependent on ourselves, but to live for each day dependent on Him.  Independence in this world can often be a block in relying on God.  I myself find it very hard to ask anyone for help – no matter what it is.  But when we become so independent that we cannot rely on each other and on God, we’re living outside His will. 

To some extent, the need for independence comes from a lack of trust in God to provide.  If we TRULY believed Philippians 4:19, that God would supply ALL our needs “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”, would we lack anything?

Beyond a lack of trust in God, I believe our independence comes from a desire to please each other that requires more than our needs.  It requires our excess.  And that excess can become a burden to obtain, and a burden to collect.  That’s why we have credit card debt, mortgage payments, car payments, etc.  It’s not that we cannot drive an old car.  We just don’t want to because it’s not “acceptable”.  It’s not that we can’t live in a small house with few furnishings.  It’s that it’s not “expected” of us.  Yet, without the struggle to obtain things we don’t truly need, consider how much more content we would be.

To be a true disciple is to be fully reliant on God.  We are to rely on Him for even the words that we speak (Matthew 10:19).  How much easier would life be if you didn’t rely on yourself, and took God at His word, and just followed His will? 

All we are, and all we truly have is in Christ.  The possessions of this life are just an illusion.  One day, we will give them up.

 

 

 

 

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