Friday, October 4, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ The Dependent Journey from Self-Dependence to Christ-Dependence

          There is no such thing as “independence”. We cannot do anything without some dependence on something that is outside of ourselves. We are dependent on the material world to give us air to breath, water to drink, food to eat, and protection from the material elements. In our modern times, we cannot think of getting through a day without depending on things that other people have designed and manufactured in some way.

          What we typically think is independence, in western society considered a good trait, is really self-dependence, the world’s view that the individual self is the center of all things, that everyone should look out for themselves, the survival-of-the-fittest mentality. It isn’t actually working, but the self-centeredness within us prefers to think that it is functioning just fine.

          Instead of teaching ourselves and our children to experience independence, we should learn how to live in dependence. And, instead of living in dependence on our own self, we should learn how to live in dependence on Jesus Christ. After all, he is our Creator, and he is the one in whom “we live and move and have our being.”[1]

          One of the things that became clear to me this morning was that any of my thoughts of independence are really thoughts about self-dependence. In such a case, I am still living a life of dependence, except I believe that I am the best person to depend upon. In my childhood I was familiar with the phrase, “If I want something done right, I will have to do it myself!” Such old beliefs are sometimes difficult to leave behind.

          Which brought me to realize that even my freedom from self-dependence cannot be won independently. In other words, I cannot depend on myself to free myself from self-dependence. I need to depend on someone different from me in order to find the kind of dependence that liberates me from the bondage to self (or sark). And, in depending on the right someone to set me free from self-dependence, my self-dependence is already being broken.

          This is where Christ-dependence comes in. Jesus is our Creator and our Redeemer. I cannot help but rely on him for my earthly life, for he alone could turn the dust of the earth into a living creation destined for his own image and likeness. But I also cannot help but rely on him for spiritual life, since he alone can raise a dead sinner into the newness of his life.

          There are many questions in life that would need to be answered with, “That depends.” What happens to us when we die? That depends. Are we talking about a self-dependent person, or a Christ-dependent person? What does God think of me right now? That depends. Are we referring to someone who is self-centered, doing his own thing, living independent from God, or someone who is self-denying, Christ-centered, and hungering to know God?

          In fact, not only are there questions in life that clearly must be answered with a “that depends,” but everything in life must be faced with a sense of dependence. We simply cannot help but depend on something or someone. However, a life lived independent of God, in dependence on self, is destined for failure, while a life lived in dependence on Christ, independent of self, is destined for glory.

          My prayer is that, in any question of “that depends,” I will find myself depending on Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Or, as a much older counselor put it, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”[2]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Acts 17:28
[2] Proverbs 3:5-8

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