When I think of freedom, I think of all the times in my life when I broke away from something or someone who was inflicting or causing me pain. Obtaining that freedom was not easy and it usually came with a cost, but the joy that freedom brought was worth it all. I guess we wouldn’t call it freedom if it were easy to break the chains that held us hostage. And I’m quite sure we’ve all had a personal experience with being freed from someone or some kind of physical or emotional bondage. We love freedom. We fight hard for it and celebrate it passionately, especially when we are the ones who paid the cost to personally accomplish it. But are we just as passionate and grateful when someone else has paid that cost?
What about Independence? Is that the same as Freedom? We celebrate the 4th of July and we call it Independence Day. Freedom and independence. As I think about these two things, I can’t get them out of my head. I’m struggling with whether or not independence is as worthy a cause as freedom. I guess I’ve always thought it was, but is it? Even as I write this, I am challenged to think in a way I haven’t thought before. Isn’t it a good thing to be independent? As a Mother, I encourage my children to be independent of me and do more on their own as they get older. This brings more freedom to me, as well as gives them freedom to grow. I think that’s a good thing, right? But I don’t want them to strive to be so independent that they don’t ever need me. I suppose there is an amount of independence, that we consider to be healthy or unhealthy, just as we would about freedom. However, isn’t it true that freedom can come from the very act of dependence? Isn’t it also true that becoming too independent, can often lead to the cell of loneliness? If you’re not sure, keep reading.
Independence, by definition is “freedom from dependence”. Ok, I get it, but does it really free us to be self-sufficient, self-sustaining, self-reliant, self-etc.? Sounds like we’d just end up all alone. Is that really the kind of freedom I want? No way. Freedom, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the “absence of constraint”. That sounds good to me. Who wants to be constrained? But do I want a life without laws? No way.
So, here’s where I’m going with this. Freedom, (the kind that releases us from that which binds us), is good and worthy of its cost. I seek freedom of this kind. But too much, will lead to chaos. Independence, (the kind that encourages us to seek help when we need it and in turn, help when we are able), is rewarding and produces freedom. I seek independence of this kind. But too much will usually lead to bondage. So, why do so many of us try so hard to NOT need anyone? God made us to need each other. He didn’t design us to be alone or apart from Him. I need friends. I need my husband (a lot) and I know I need God (even more). God will give us the kind of freedom that is truly worth the cost of death and we don’t even have to pay the price. He’s already paid it. We can’t possibly understand just how great that cost was, but if we could, I bet our gratitude and our celebrations would never cease.
So, here’s the oxymoron of this whole point: Christ died for our freedom. It’s offered to those who accept it, through His death and resurrection, BUT (here it is…) we cannot have it, unless we are completely and totally dependent on Him. Self-Nothing and God-Everything!
I’ll say it again…we can only obtain freedom through our very dependence on God.
Wow. I will celebrate Independence Day and I am so grateful to those who paid the heavy price to give our country the freedom we have, but I am even more grateful to God for the price He paid to give me eternal freedom and a life with Him forever. I chose dependence…on God alone.
“Apart from me, you can do nothing” John 15:5
“Two are better than one, because they have good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecc. 4:9-10
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36