Turning Independence Day Upside Down
How a Declaration of Dependence can lead you to true freedom
As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, a time when Americans commemorate their hard-won independence, it is essential to reflect on the true meaning of freedom. While independence is cherished, there exists a deeper freedom that transcends mere autonomy—a freedom found in surrendering ourselves to a higher power. This profound dependence on God, made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, offers a liberating way of living that echoes the sacrificial spirit of our veterans and, ultimately, Christ Himself.
The Illusion of Independence
In today's world, independence is often portrayed as the pinnacle of success and fulfillment. Society teaches us that self-sufficiency, personal ambitions, and individual desires are the keys to happiness. We strive to be self-reliant, craving the illusion of being little gods in our own right, demanding sacrifices from others to cater to our needs and desires. In other words, we actually become dependent on others to meet our exacting plans and expectations. So, this false sense of independence often leads to a cycle of dissatisfaction and isolation.
The Freedom of Dependence
Contrary to the cultural narrative, true freedom is not found in self-centeredness but rather in surrendering ourselves to a power greater than our own. Jesus, in His life, death, and resurrection, offers us the opportunity to experience a genuine freedom that transcends earthly limitations. Through faith in Christ, we can find liberation from the bondage of sin, guilt, and the constant pursuit of worldly desires.
My dad is buried at the Willamette National Cemetery outside of Portland, Oregon. Acres and acres of servicemen and women that served this country in the armed forces, many who gave their lives in the act of serving. Others, like my dad in WWII and the Korean War, served and then lived out their lives in service to the communities they came home to. Our veterans, whom we honor for their bravery and sacrifice, exemplify the spirit of selflessness. They put their lives on the line, willingly laying down their independence to protect the freedoms we hold dear. In a similar way, Christ's sacrifice on the cross demonstrates the ultimate act of selflessness. He gave up His own life so that we could experience true freedom and eternal life.
Dependence on God
To live a life of true freedom, we must shift our focus from ourselves to God. We must recognize that our dependence on Him is not a sign of weakness but a source of strength. When we surrender our lives to God, we acknowledge that He is the ultimate authority and provider. It is through this dependence that we can love God with our whole being and extend that love to our neighbors.
Loving God and Neighbors
Dependence on God empowers us to live sacrificially, loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We recognize that the pursuit of our own desires should not overshadow our love for others. Instead of demanding sacrifices from those around us, we willingly sacrifice our time, resources, and ambitions to bless and uplift others. By embracing dependence on God, we find the freedom to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s why the Bible says,
“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.”
- Galatians 5:13 NET
Turning Independence Day Upside Down
As we celebrate Independence Day, let us reflect on the deeper freedom that comes through dependence on God. This freedom liberates us from the chains of self-centeredness and allows us to live lives of sacrificial love, following the example of our veterans and ultimately, Jesus Christ. By embracing our dependence on God, we discover a true sense of purpose, fulfillment, and eternal significance. Let us choose to live in the freedom that comes from surrender, experiencing the joy and peace that only God can provide.