What is independence?

Basically, independence is not depending upon something or someone. When we think about depending upon something or someone, we think about our lives and what is involved in living them. We are dependent upon sustenance; food and water. We are dependent upon air to breathe. We are dependent upon light for vitamin D and healthy skin. We are dependent upon shelter from the heat and cold. We are dependent upon medicine when we are sick. When we were infants, we depended upon our parents for care, nurture, and nutrition. When we were children, we depended upon education to teach us reading, writing, and arithmetic, in order to learn how to be self-sufficient, take care of ourselves, obtain employment, etc. Some of us, when we were older, became dependent upon a college education to increase our marketability for employment, in order to provide a better life for ourselves and our families. We depend upon our State and local law enforcement and our military to keep us safe and free. We’re dependent upon a lot of things.

Then, we become dependent upon another. Maybe a spouse or a care giver, a mentor, a teacher or professor, or even our children. Come to think of it, independence is not a reality in most of our lives. We are dependent upon some things or someone. We are dependent on those who love us – because we need love. As a citizens looking at our city, state, and country what do we see?

We see that independence has never been easy. Nearly 250 years ago, it was something worth fighting for. The idea of a people who stood on equal footing, free to speak, free to wander, free to live. These were ideals worth risking everything for.[1]

What were these ideals?

“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”[2]

Today we find ourselves fighting old battles. Not with past foes, but with ourselves. We are a nation divided. It seems the very freedoms we once fought for have become stumbling blocks.[3]

What are the stumbling blocks?

Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. Today, the right to life has been challenged; it has been discarded; it has been denied. It has been challenged, discarded, and denied by people who have determined in their minds that what was once considered lawless; a part of themselves they consider theirs, is really not theirs at all.  Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Evil has deluded people to see these lawless acts as ideas of freedom and self-determination. Freedom to be who they want to be, to do what they want to another, not concerned with the outcome, concerned only with what they will receive. What makes people happy? Wars, and fighting amongst people of all colors. drug lords, gang leaders, political party leaders, nations against nations – all in the name of what they want, what they consider valuable, what makes them happy, whether or not in reality, it may be harmful or deadly. Greed, self-centeredness, licentiousness, lawlessness, pride and avarice control the minds of the ungodly. These are the stumbling blocks we set before ourselves and at the same time wonder why we’re tripping over them.

Are we too busy seeking ourselves to even recognize the tragedy which surrounds us? In this moment; the truth of Scripture rings especially true.[4] What does God tell us in His Word?

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”  Romans 1:18-32 (NKJV)

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)

If we the people will humbly pray, turn from this wickedness, and seek His face, then He will hear us, He will forgive us, and He will heal this land.[5]

What is true independence?

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  John 8:31-36 (NKJV)

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:2 (NKJV)

Today, may we remember this one simple truth…True independence is found only in our dependence on God [6] alone.

Stay cool and have a blessed and safe July!

          Pastor Gary


[1] 2021, Footbridge Media. Pensacola, Florida

[2] https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

[3] 2021, Footbridge Media. Pensacola, Florida

[4] 2021, Footbridge Media. Pensacola, Florida

[5] 2021, Footbridge Media. Pensacola, Florida

[6] 2021, Footbridge Media. Pensacola, Florida

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