This week, many of us will gather with friends and family to honor and remember the pivotal date in our country, July 4, 1776, when the 13 colonies declared their independence from British rule. The writing, signing, and adoption of the Declaration of Independence founded the United States government, establishing that every person has inherent rights. As Americans, we cherish and embrace the words, “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.”
As we observe Independence Day, we are truly fortunate to live in a land that fosters self-determination. But, have you ever considered the importance of dependence on others and our Heavenly Father? It is hard to function well apart from God, and dependence is vital in our relationship with Him. Instead of leaning on our own strength and understanding, He invites us to trust Him and acknowledge our reliance on Him and Him alone.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
While we have the privilege of celebrating our country’s independence, we are in need to recognize and accept our spiritual dependence in Christ and the freedom that is offered when we abide in Him. Jesus tells us in John 15:4-5, “Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Do we cherish these words of Christ that expose our need for Him while also providing the very freedom that gives us life?
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
As we observe Independence Day, we are thankful to live in a land that prioritizes autonomy made possible by the sacrifices of many others. What we choose to do with those freedoms and how well we use them to bless others, requires a complete dependency on God and His plan for our lives. Let us trust Him to bring fruit to our branches!