“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” One man named Stephen Ellis calls these words “the most potent and consequential words in American history.” We know these words to come from the Declaration of Independence, written by John Adams on July 2, 1776 and approved by Congress on the Fourth of July. This Declaration was written with the intent of listing the colonial grievances against King George III. This document changed the world. What started as 13 colonies in the British Empire became a nation, small but strong, able to withstand the might of the Redcoats. They declared independence against their mother country. They would not be under the rule of Great Britain, and thus became a self-governing nation.
What I fear though, is that too many Christians have signed their name in John Hancock-like fashion on a declaration from Someone else. Christians have signed the declaration of independence from their Creator-the same Creator who endowed us with rights listed in America’s Declaration. They sign away their dependence from the heavenly Father. They choose to live independently from the Creator in most aspects of their life.
Perhaps American Christians have slid to the apathetic spiritual state they are in because they have decided to live independently from King Jesus. Christians make their own decisions. They try to provide for themselves. They live their lives from day to day without any thought to the Sovereign God who sent His Son to die for them. What I submit to you is this: Christians need to sign a declaration of dependence. Let us consider these truths of dependence on God.
- Dependence on God should be our natural response to His goodness.
I don’t need to spend a large amount of time reminding you readers of the goodness of God. It’s an obvious truth. How often do we respond to His goodness, not with dependence, but with a prideful attitude of self-sufficiency. You finally get that long overdue raise at work. Your youth group is growing and it looks like you are making an impact. Your family relationships are stronger than ever. Then, you start to think, “I’m not doing so bad. I think I’m going to make it.” While God has been so good to you, you start to become independent. You stop relying on God. You forget that the raise you received at work was the answer to a prayer you’ve been praying for work. The growth in your youth group is a result of your obedience to the Great Commission and His blessing your efforts. Your family relationships grew stronger because God worked through your searching Him in how to treat your family Biblically. It was His goodness that brought you these great things in life. Because of His goodness, you should respond with further dependence on Him.
- Dependence on God requires humble faith in Him.
Isn’t it easy to look at a situation and think, “I’ve got this”? My mind immediately goes to the story of Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a test of Abraham’s devotion to God. However, God didn’t tell Abraham where to go. (This wasn’t the first time God had done this either!) At this point, Abraham has to make a choice. He can either choose to humbly believe God or choose to pridefully deny Him. “God, if you don’t tell me where I’m going this time, I’m not going. Sorry! It’s just not going to happen. You didn’t tell me where I was going last time we did this, and I’m not going through that again.” Abraham chose to humble have faith in God. He depended on God. God had made a promise to him that he would be the father of a great nation, with people numbering as the sands of the sea and the stars in the sky. He had to have a (rightful) heir for God to do that. Abraham humbly believed that God would work out all the details. Maybe you’re not sure how the car is going to get filled up with gas, or the electric bill is going to get paid. God wants you to be involved in a bigger way in giving to the missions program at your church. The temptation is to say, “I’ve got this!” Maybe you try to work more hours, borrow money from someone, get a second job. But in reality, the best answer is first to have humble faith in Him. practically speaking, God may use some of those things to help you, but the difference is that HE brought you those avenues of provision. Maybe your child is going astray even amidst diligent Biblical parenting, and you think that going to a psychiatrist is going to help. I’m not against doctors, but what I’m saying is that our first step is humble faith in God.
- Dependence on God is often the tough thing to do.
There is an element of uncertainty when depending on God. We’re not sure where the provisions are going to come from. We’re not sure which direction we’ll be led. We don’t know the outcomes of any given situation. Dependence on God doesn’t mean we know all of those things. It means that we believe God will provide, lead, control whatever situation we place back in His care. This is not always an easy task. Maybe it means making sacrifices you haven’t had to make before. Maybe you’re scared because you think people are watching you and you care too much what they think. It isn’t about anyone else; just God Himself. It may be tough, but it is the most rewarding action we can take. Because whatever the situation God calls us through, when we depend on Him we get the best possible outcome. It is not always what we think, but it is what is always best.
If you’re anything like me, I find myself too often trusting in my own power. I trust my own wisdom. While the Declaration of Independence is the beginning of our great nation, a declaration of dependence is the beginning of a great Christian.