The Truth About Independence
Let me start by sharing an observation. And that’s that children seek not independence, but “the freedom to act according to emotion without fear of consequence.”
As adults, given the gifts of increasing responsibility, we know that independence is a great responsibility. As adults, not as children in grown-up bodies, we understand that we have established “the responsibly to act in accordance with the law with fear and consequence.”
Yay Independence! Some days, we’d really rather someone just told us what to do for awhile…
Still, it is often difficult to understand that independence is not the requirement to handle all your problems on your own, or answer all the questions by yourself. Being independent does not mean you must act alone.
Independence is the freedom, or capability, to make your own intelligent, informed decisions. This ability, however, is neither innate nor learned, as no one has the right perspective to know what’s best for themselves. This ability requires input, advice, and direction from others who understand our purpose and station; others who are trustworthy and who have proven to have our interests at heart.
True independence comes from hearing the truth. And since we are incapable of generating our own true thoughts (we lie to ourselves all the time – though it is not really us but the Deceiver), we must seek out and conform to the truth received from God or from those whom we know are truly listening to God.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” — Romans 10:17
Tragically, we are, more often than not, unprepared to hear or receive the truth. Satan has already planted a lie which we quickly receive as our own and we always give “our” thoughts more credence.
So now, having already set the lie as the new truth, our hearts and minds are closed to the real Truth. Now, God gives us his Word, and puts special people in our lives to speak his Truth to us. But unless we can intentionally, and really, set aside “our truth” and seek loving counsel, we are destined for broken relationships and lives.
And the truth is, if we are not actively seeking God’s Truth in his Word, and trusting those he sends to us, how are we any better off in this life than those who don’t know him?
Ultimately, we still have the freedom to make wise, or poor, decisions. But the important part is that we have a responsibility in that freedom to be as well-informed as we can, and not act based on emotion, but rather acting on the Truth.
But to act on the truth, we must hear the truth. To hear the truth, we must seek the truth. To seek the truth, we must first accept that our initial thoughts or assumptions may not be true, then we can be open to hearing the truth.
Remember that God has given us a “Spirit of Truth” (John 15:26), and we must always weigh what we think against that Spirit and what our trusted advisors (and trusted Counselor) say.
It is not a requirement that we act according to the advice we’re given, but it is a true indication of independence that we at least seek, receive and consider good advice before making those decisions, big or small.
And we must beware, it’s the little decisions we make that have a bubbling effect into the larger areas of life. In other words, there’s no such thing as a small decision. Every choice changes everything.
We are usually not in the habit of seeking advice on the basic things like wardrobe or toothpaste, and yet we easily accept the advice of strangers who tell us that their products are best for us. But because we can’t take the time to seek counsel on every decision we make, shouldn’t we become more God-minded so that we’re equipped to make better little choices throughout our days?
By drawing near to God through his Word, we can be better at “teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Even more so, by knowing his Word, we can “walk about in freedom” (Psalm 119:45) and “run in the path of (God’s) commands” (Psalm 119:32).
The more we know God, whom we have come to know through his Word, the more we should want to know him more. And only through his Word, and in his Word – who is Christ – can we know him more, and can we be better at living effective lives that serve his purpose for us.
God is Truth. The Truth is found in his Word. Only through obedience to his Word can we know the Truth. Not just reading it, but living it. Acting it out. As Jesus told is plainly:
“If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” — John 8:31-32
Only the Truth can provide the independence we seek. And only by living in and by the Truth can we ever truly be free.