Independence: Strength or Weakness?
- How Will You Respond? - June 19, 2018
- An Abiding Friend - April 26, 2018
- A Prayer For Our Children - April 10, 2018
“Now the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
It’s there, in the scriptures.
From the very beginning we are told that it’s not good for us to be alone and that we need help. But here we are, living in a world of self-help books, self-made millionaires, and selfie sticks. Friends, what makes us think that doing life alone is better than God’s plan of unity and community? Why do we think that being independent in our own strength is better than being dependent on His strength?
I’ll be the first to say that I am guilty of falling for the lie that says we need to be completely independent in order to be strong and successful, and that asking for help is a sign of weakness or vulnerability. In fact, for most of my life, I prided myself on the ability to learn and accomplish things without the help of others, whether it be in school, work, or sports. That pride was rooted so deep in me that it drove me to do things on my own rather than ask or accept help from those around me–even if I needed it. Sure, I was able to achieve goals and even feel accomplished and successful at times, but what was missing from my life was far greater than I realized.
Fooled into Thinking I Was Independent
When I left for out-of-state college right after high school, I was fooled into thinking that I was completely independent and free to make any choices I wanted, without needing the direction of anyone…including the Holy Spirit. I felt as though I was wise and strong enough to stand on my own and that there was no real immediate need for church, discipleship, and/or even community with strong believers. After all, up to this point I hadn’t faced much adversity, really only joy and fulfillment. My thought process was essentially, “I got this. I know who I am. I’ll make the right decisions for me.” But in reality, the only thing I had was a false sense of security, confidence, and a lack of true identity.
“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4
“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” Proverbs 26:12
The result of my disastrous decision making and my “independence” led me to a place where Isaiah 23:9 became a reality in my life…
“The LORD Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble…”
The Truth of My Success
God had to aggressively, yet lovingly, break off this lie and pride I was walking under by allowing me to make my own poor choices which led to some pretty hard consequences and a lot of pain. Unfortunately, the season of growing and sifting took several years, millions of tears, and a few broken hearts. But He had to remind me that apart from Him, I was nothing. That all those years of blessing, protection, and grace from my parents and others were indeed His doing, not my own. That while I was thinking my “success” was because of my skill and drive, it was really because He was gracious in filling all the gaps I missed and patching up the holes I made.
You see, I was never doing it on my own. I might have not seen it because I was so focused on myself, but I was being helped daily, regardless if I wanted it or not. That’s the amazing thing about a loving God, He doesn’t just leave us to take life on by ourselves…even if that’s what we think we want.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
“…He will never leave you nor forsake you…”
“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth”
Depend on God for True Joy
Friends, whether we like to admit it or not, we need God’s help in everything we say and do. We need to depend on Him and His strength, not our own. Otherwise, we will lead a life of false contentment and at best, temporary delight. True fulfillment and everlasting joy can only come from complete humility, obedience and dependence on the Lord.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
So what do you say? Are you willing to…
…humble yourself and admit you are nothing apart from Him?
…accept His help, whether in the form of correction or the simple support of a friend?
…be found weak in your own strength, so that you may be found strong in His?