Being independent is worth celebrating. This past Fourth of July, a celebration of our nation’s independence from England, was a striking reminder of other
important steps toward independence.
I walked into our local Target store, the Monday prior to the 4thof July, confident I could procure holiday décor. My mission, to purchase red white and blue
string lights, was almost a failure. To my utter amazement, the seasonal section had been purged of patriotic items. Employees were busily restocking
the shelves with back to school items! It is only JULY people! Fortunately, I found the last two sets of string lights located on a bottom shelf of an end cap
display along with a few remnants of patriotic paper products.
I must admit that even though I no longer have school aged children to prep for school, the site of the back to school displays put a knot
in my tummy. Each year, going back to school signified their steps toward independence. Every new school year brought them closer toward being self-reliant as they learned and developed new skills. It was both saddening and welcome. As a parent, I desire my kids to become independent. I pray they will find happiness in life that is not dependant on other people, work, their circumstances, or me. I want them to be able to step out on their own in life.
Independence is empowering. We hold it in high regard, seek it out as human beings, fight for it, and honor it with celebrations as we grow closer towards it.
There is one kind of independence that defies this idea. There is an independence that is not worth celebrating, an independence that leads toward destruction….independence from God. Unlike the empowering independence we discover as we grow up, a lack of dependence on God brings us far away from the freedom we desire. Without God we are quick to become enslaved to destructive vices or behaviors. We depend on people, work, money or our circumstances for our happiness. It is mind-boggling how easy it is to push away from God and step into the world on our own. Perhaps this is the only independence that does not lead to freedom.
I know it is a week past the 4th of July, but perhaps like me you see the remnants of the celebration all around; scraps of paper strewn on neighborhood streets from exploded firecrackers, patriotic items in discount bins at stores, star-spangled buntings still draping houses and flags flying higher and more plentiful than usual. May theses things, as well as the “back-to School” displays serve as reminders as we challenge ourselves to celebrate independence and continue to seek dependency on God, the source of true freedom.
“But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you
deserve the benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal
life.” Romans 6:22
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore keep
standing firm, and do not be subject agin to the yoke of slavery(bonds of sin)”