Pastor Clay Faulk

Another 4th of July is just around the corner. I remember fondly some of those wonderful Independence Day celebrations over the years and I bet you can too. Years of grilling burgers, dogs, and chicken, lots of watermelons or home made ice cream. We enjoyed activities such as swimming, going to the beach, golfing with the guys, or just being with friends. The day always culminated with the effort to watch fireworks. Sometimes it rained, sometimes it didn’t. The fourth of July makes me think about our country, but it also makes me think about freedom, as a country and as an individual. 

Today I want to talk about something related to independence… the opposite, dependence. I was with a couple of Seniors recently and we were talking about the value of being able to go and do when and where we want. There is an independence that we slowly discover as we grow up and come of age. We all remember the thrill of getting behind the wheel of a car by ourselves for the very first time. From that point on it was a series of breaking free from moving out on our own to getting married… there was great independence. 

For most of us, our adult lives have been lived as independent people. We are free to a great degree to live as we please. I think that God created us that way. We have always had freedom of choice, even though that didn’t work out too well in Eden. God never intended us to be zombie-like creatures whom God simply commands to do as He says.

The truth is… we are creatures whose lives are a “catch 22” or a paradox. Our country takes pride in its freedoms. Indeed, we like to think of ourselves as “independent.” But nothing could be further from the truth. We are more like fish in an aquarium. We are utterly dependent upon God whether we recognize it or not or even like it or not. God has always been the eternal parent and we have always been the children. We have never really been independent, even though we think we are. Our dependence upon God ranges from the very breath you are inhaling as you read this, to the offer for Christ to live in you daily, to the salvation you are welcomed into at the end of your life. 

In light of this truth, it might be a good idea to create “A Declaration of Dependence” with God if you haven’t already done so. Why? Because, at some point, you will realize dependence upon God is a fact of life. You will realize this because you are a human being who has already or will eventually have big problems. And the only solution to life’s big problems will be found in going to a loving God who wants to be there to help you solve or cope with life’s biggest problems. Author Jim Cymbala writes in his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, “Prayer cannot truly be taught… it has to be born out of a whole environment of felt need.” In other words, when you need God, and you will, then you will find a way to pray! It’s like all those movies that put the person in peril and as a last resort they look up to the sky and say something like, “God, I know I don’t usually do this, but now… I need …” What? They couldn’t handle it all by themselves? Neither can you or I. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until the chips are down to have a relationship with God. Declare your dependence today and make this a truly freeing holiday to remember. Let’s look at Jesus’ humanly existence here on earth. He prayed regularly and claimed utter dependence on the Father. If Jesus did that, who are we not to? I Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” I think this must be the scripture my Grandmother she was thinking about when she told me, “Pray in good times and bad.” Until next time, Blessings!