How do you respond when God sends someone your way to correct or confront you?
I tell husbands and wives around the world that if they want to experience lasting change in their marriage, they first need to fire their inner defense lawyer. I joke that I don't have just one lawyer at work; I have an entire law firm practicing on my behalf!
That illustration makes people laugh, but it's actually very morbid spiritual reality. It's not natural for us to look into the mirror of God's Word and see ourselves as needy. It's not natural for us to immediately confess and seek forgiveness. So, when another person challenges us, we're quick to present evidence of our innocence and summon witnesses in our defense.
The delusion of independence
One of the sad results of sin is that it causes all of us, at some time and in some way, to buy into the delusion of independence. Independence is what the serpent sold Adam and Eve, and it's the false reward that the enemy continues to wave in front of each one of us.
The delusion of independence sounds very enticing: "You can be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do." It's designed to make us believe that we're wiser and more righteous than we actually are. It makes us think that we're "the wise ones" existing in a colony of the immature. It causes us to reason that if we do bad things, we do them not because of what's inside of us, but because of the pressures that we're forced to deal with that are outside of us.
The delusion of independence tries to swindle us into believing that we're capable, moral, and more qualified than the rest. And many of us have fallen for it.
What the Bible says about independence
The Bible says two things about independence:
- Independence is a delusion; self-sufficiency and autonomy do not exist for the human race.
- The quest for independence never results in independence; it always ends in bondage.
The Bible declares throughout its pages that we were carefully designed by the Creator to live in a dependent, obedient, and worshipful relationship with him. It also declares that we were designed to live in humble, interdependent relationships with other human beings. Therefore, the quest for independence is not simply a spiritual mistake; it's a fundamental denial of our humanity.
The Bible also warns that the pursuit of independence always leaves us addicted to a list of things that we look to for hope, life, strength, and rest. In a vain attempt to ignore the evidence that we're not in fact independent, we get hooked on things that have the ability to distract us, but never satisfy us and give our hearts rest.
The message of the Bible is clear and cautionary: we're people in desperate need of help, and ignoring that need leads to spiritual slavery.
So today, as you enjoy family picnics and fireworks in celebration of America's independence, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the way I relate to members of my family picture a person who believes that they're in daily need of help?
- Does the level of my commitment to Christian fellowship depict a person who thinks they're in need of help?
- Does my personal devotional life paint a portrait of a person who humbly acknowledges their need of help?
The only way you'll ever run to the Helper is by running away from the delusion of independence. Why not do that once more today?