<<self-government, self-direction>>

In the Garden of Eden, Satan convinced Adam and Eve to disregard God’s directions, and ever since humanity has tried to be self-sufficient, living in rebellion to God and independent of His loving involvement.  Our sinful nature deceives us into thinking we don’t need God and therefore we don’t need to submit or obey Him. This reasoning renders us impotent; there might be a mental acknowledgement of God but without any real vitality or power. It is only through Christ we can achieve anything of eternal significance. We can’t take any credit for our achievements, for without Him, we are nothing.

We should never seek independence from God; He holds the power of life and death over us, “My times are in your hands”, so the place where we can access the resources of God is in dependence on God (Ps 31:15). Our potential can only be fully outworked when we are connected to the vine.

We live either in dependence on, or independently of God

Jesus said, “I am the vine; without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:4,5). Fruit can’t be developed on a branch severed from the source of life and nourishment. Don’t try and accomplish anything outside of a vital relationship with Christ and what He wants, otherwise it will only be a puny work of our effort (flesh) and will amount to nothing because it did not pass the test (Zech 4:6; 1 Cor 3:12-15). However, like Paul we can confidently state, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength and power” (Phil 4:13). How is my connectedness with the divine vine? Am I drawing all I need from that source or am I trying to make it by my own efforts?

Arrogant independence weakens the Body of Christ, which like a physical body requires each part to function in harmony with each other for the overall good (1 Cor 12:12-27). We are to care for one another and help carry

Wrongly motivated independence is rebellion

their burden while not creating an unnatural and wrong emotional dependency by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves (Gal 6:2,5).  There is a place for self-sufficiency, taking personal responsibility in certain areas while still maintaining interdependency in society. Solomon wrote there are physical safeguards of not being alone but in connection with others (Eccl 4:9-11).

It is essential for parents to relinquish control over their growing children, so they can become mature, independent citizens of society, making wise choices of their own, having been guided in the past by the instruction and example of their parents.

Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father doing…By myself I can do nothing” (Jn 5:19,30). ‘I don’t need you’ is the stance of an independent self-reliant person. Unfortunately this ‘I can do it myself’ approach will not give anyone access to heaven as there is only one way, and that is in humility relying on Jesus (Jn 14:6; Act 4:12; Rom 10:3). Pride prevents people from asking for help but we must be like Jesus – relating to the Father, as our efforts are useless on their own.

See also: accountability, alone, codependency, dependence, fellowship, individualism, isolation, rebellion, relationship, self-sufficiency, separate.