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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Independent Of None

 On July 8, 1731, a young twenty-eight-year-old minister named Johnathan Edwards preached a sermon entitled, God Glorified In Man's Dependence. In that sermon he said, 

"By its being thus ordered, that the creature should have so 
absolute and universal dependence on God, provision is
made that God should have our whole souls, and should be
the object of our undivided respect...all unites in him as the center."

 There is much talk these days about being independent. It's looked on as being a sign of maturity to live life the way you want to, to be your own person. The advice and assistance of others is seen as interference, not as help. Embracing the perspectives of those around you - of those outside of you, rather - is viewed as being "not cool."
 It should've surprise us though to discover that this isn't the way God created and desired our lives to function. All throughout Scripture, we find examples of God's intent for man to look upward for his source of life and meaning. We were never meant to go at life solo. As it says in Psalm 36:9, 

"With you [God] is the fountain of life; in your light we see light."

Without Him, all is hopeless. He is what gives us value and significance, not as far as the world is concerned, but in what truly matters. Author A.W. Pink once observed that, 

"A sight of God leads to a realization of our littleness and 
nothingness, and issues in a sense of dependency and of
casting ourselves upon God."

Once again, it all comes down to our need for Him. If we think we can make it on our own without His aid, we're in for a rude awakening. Because God gave us life in the first place, He is the one who sustains that life, whether we realize it or not. If it were not for God's continual mercy, we would be dead - both physically and spiritually. Think about it: were not God to have His hand on your life, to allow you a chance to live and move and breathe (Acts 17:28), you couldn't sleep in safety, you couldn't got to your job everyday, you couldn't visit with your friends. You wouldn't even exist. Even though you may seek to ignore His presence in your life, God is still there watching over you. Lamentations 3:21-22 puts it well:

"...This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 
Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail."

God holds your life, my life, securely in His hands. We may not live like we believe that; we may even try to destroy that life in our pursuit of our own agenda. And yet, God remains present. God remains all-knowing. And God remains sovereign - in control of everything...yes, even our lives...whether we have surrendered to Him fully or not. 
 Unfortunately, we must fight against the cultural stigma of independence if we are to truly grasp what God is all about. As eluded to earlier, He is the "fountain of life," a continual supply of everything good and sustaining. But somehow, we just can't seem to get this. In our world of personal achievement and success, we believe we can get by on our own. 
 As I discovered awhile back, it is impossible in the long run to go anywhere meaningful, to possess long-lasting relationships, when there is not a sense of humble need, a sense of emptiness that needs to be filled. One cannot light up one's own darkness, nor can anyone resurrect their own dead self. The change has to come from the outside of the door. 
 In light of eternity,  of my own, I am nothing. I have no worth, no purpose. But I rejoice, because, thanks to what Christ did on the cross for me, I am free to live with meaning. More than anything, I desire to be swallowed up in the limitless grace of God - each day more so than the previous. My ability to comprehend this depends on how much I'm willing to to just get out of the way and let God be God. One of the most beautiful prayers I've ever read was written by the Puritan, George Swinnock. It seems fitting to quote a portion of it here:

"Lord, let me partake of your special mercy...
Whatsoever you deny me, or howsoever you deal with me,
give me yourself, and it shall be enough. You are the true
paradise of all pleasure, a living fountain of happiness, 
and the original and exact pattern of all perfections."

I don't want to live a day without Him. I don't want to function apart from Him. I have found Him to be enough. Is He enough for you?