In our modern day society independence is, for the most part, considered to always be a good thing. After all, when was the last time you heard someone say, “you know what you need? You need to be more financially dependent on someone else” or “You should be more emotionally dependent on this person or that one.” Kids grow up and become independent at a certain age (some later than others of course). You get my point. We all seek independence at some level and all need independence at some level. But there is one area in which we can seek independence that can be altogether unhealthy. What if we were never meant to live the Christian life independently? Perhaps it’s high time we exchange a bit of our independence for dependence. Let me explain.
How Independence Can Keep You From God
The primary reason that believers should exchange independence for dependence is that the Christian walk (by nature) is to be walked in complete dependence. I love the way author Paul David Tripp puts it. He says, “. . . don’t argue for your independence; there’s no safer place than to be a helpless child in the arms of the God of the universe.” The truth of the Gospel is that we did not and cannot save ourselves. Christ intervened on our behalf. We were dependent upon his grace for our salvation and must continue to depend upon his grace for our sanctification. An independent mindset can keep you from God, but it can also keep you from experiencing the life you were created to live—a life in community.
How Independence Can Keep You From Life-Giving Community
Life-giving community is a marvelous gift of God’s grace to his children. Here is why: if you haven’t been brought to your knees yet by the struggles and hazards of life, you will be. Life is too hard to be lived in complete independence. The beautiful thing is that our Creator knows this and has lovingly designed His church to be characterized by community centered on the Gospel.
True Christian community recognizes life’s difficulties and also recognizes our individual struggles with sin. Through the Gospel we are empowered to bare the burdens of others because Christ bore our greatest burdens. The Gospel also frees us to truly live in community that is not defined by our greatness and our accomplishments but rather by the greatness of God and what he has accomplished for us. That is life-giving!
So what am I driving at here? Well, I think we must each answer these two questions: First, am I truly depending upon God each and every day or do I have an overly independent mindset? And second, am I so functionally independent that it may be keeping me from the community that God has placed around me?
If you answered yes to the first question, then make a habit of reminding yourself of the Gospel on a daily basis and rest in the sufficient grace of God. If you answered yes to the second question, then it may be time for you to exchange independence for dependence!
A step in the right direction is to try a Starter Group. Starter Groups will begin on Wednesday, November 2 at our Edgefield Facility. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people at Mercy Hill and to meet the church’s leadership. Starter Groups are a great way to experience what a Mercy Hill Community Group is like, and at the end of Starter Groups, you will have the opportunity to sign up for one of the new Community Groups we will be launching next semester. You can find out more info and sign up here: www.mercyhillgso.com/startergroups.
-Randy Titus (Campus Pastor, Community Groups Director)