Independence. The word carries meaning for us all. In America, we celebrate our Independence Day with fireworks, food, and family. As individuals, we celebrate our independence from, well, everything. We pride ourselves on being strong, independent women and men. We brag about our financial independence. We rebel against the idea of being dependent upon anyone for anything. 

Dependency makes us feel weak and vulnerable. Depending on someone points to our places of lack. When we’re dependent, we aren’t capable, aren’t good enough, or smart enough to accomplish a goal. So we fight for our independence. We think if we are independent, we will be free. 

But this isn’t what God teaches us about life. God teaches the opposite. If we want freedom, growth, and fulfillment, we must learn to depend on Him. 

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5

Jesus calls us to live with Him, and He invites us to allow Him to live within us. This invitation for dependency comes with a promise. We will bear much fruit with God. Without God, we can do nothing that brings fulfillment or wholeness in our lives. Without God, our lives are incomplete. 

Notice also that there is one Vine but many branches. Abiding in God should lead us to connection to community. God weaves our lives together with other branches so we can support and encourage one another. We all need help in our weak places. We all need others to lift us up when we’re struggling to simply get through the day. 

To my fellow introverts, let me encourage you to veer away from your isolationist tendencies. I get it. I feel the same desire to be alone in my comfy clothes, doing what I want in peace. But God has so much more in store. Connect with other branches, even though it feels uncomfortable and unnatural at first. Abide in the vine. Walk among the other branches. 

As we march into the Fourth of July celebrating our nation’s independence, I pray that you’ll answer Jesus’ call to abide in Him. No matter where you are or how new or old your relationship with Jesus is, we can all benefit from checking in with the Vine. Taking the time to confirm that we’re abiding in Him allows us to be our most fruitful selves. 

It seems counterintuitive, but surrender to and dependence on God leads to true freedom and fulfillment. In God’s care, we are free to pursue our true calling as His children. As children of God, we live under His protection. As long as we stay connected to Him, we have access to the source of life, abundance, and strength. 

Depending on God creates independence from the whims of society. Our happiness doesn’t hinge on the world’s acceptance. Our fulfillment doesn’t come from how many likes or followers we have. Our success isn’t based on a number in our bank account or on a scale. 

Hardships will still come. Death will still claim the lives of loved ones. Grief will still hurt. Trials will still exist. But fruit will abound in the bad times and in the good. God’s love, comfort, protection, and provision will sustain us. 

Our national anthem attests: “Rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” The battle doesn’t mean we’re losing, it means we’re still in the fight. Keep up the good fight by staying connected to the Savior. With God, the outcome is sure.

Victory. No matter what we go through, no matter how long the battle lasts, we will always end with victory when we stay connected to God. This is His sure and faithful promise. Abide in Him.

Today, as we celebrate our independence, let’s renew our dependence upon God. This is the way to true freedom.

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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?

“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15

If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.

“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.

Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.