With the Fourth of July reminding us of our independence, I wonder if we really are able to live independently. Do we think we can make it on our own? Do we think the decisions we make only affect us? How many of us live our lives without realizing how the decisions we make affect others. Our lives depend on more than just ourselves. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Are we truly independent? If we take a look at history and the Declaration of Independence we see a group of people that banded together and relied on each other for the strength to declare their independence from British rule. Without the support of each other they would not have been able to achieve success. They were willing to lay down their lives to secure that freedom. Look at the signatures on the bottom of the Declaration of Independence, representatives from each colony.
We sometimes confuse the meaning of the term independence. What does it take to be truly independent? You must divorce yourself from everyone and everything. In society we have a term for that type of person, a loner. God didn’t create us to be that way, he created us to be dependent on each other.
Look at our lives. How many of us spend our time completely alone? We don’t. We spend it with family, friends, and others. In the absence of companionship, we go out and look for some. We spend a large part of our time searching for people to be with. Look at all the social clubs and groups that we organize to be together. We are people who enjoy being around other people.
We surround ourselves with people. We enjoy their company. We cannot live without it. One of the secrets to life is our interdependence on each other. The Body of Christ, those who belong to Christ through the acceptance of His sacrifice, is made up of people who depend on each other. Paul writes;
1 Corinthians 12:12-20; The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
Our lives are enhanced when we share them with others. When we come together we can help each other build a life that reflects the love that God has for each of us. The question might be asked, how does this affect me? How does my life affect those around me? Am I a functioning part of the body or do I need some physical therapy to straighten things out?
Let me suggest first looking around at the people we spend our time with. Do we add or subtract from those relationships? Are people better for knowing us or do they run the other way when they see us coming? Do people seek us out when they need help or support in their lives?
Jesus lived a life as an example for us. People sought Him out because they saw how His presence affected others and concluded that their life would be better if they listened to Him. If you examine Scripture no one who sought Jesus out was turned away. It didn’t matter what their social or economic situation was, Jesus made time for them. In Scripture we learn that when people came face to face with the living God they never left the same way they came. Jesus provided for them both spiritually and physically, their lives were changed.
We need to ask ourselves, do people see Jesus in us? The answer lies in if they seek us out when their lives are not what they should be. It is in this process where we become interdependent. Our lives depend on the presence and influence of those around us and their lives depend on us. So much is riding on the way we live; we should live in a way that is right. Paul writes in Philippians 2:5 that our attitude should be the same as Jesus’s.
That is a great goal, but most times we fall short. We give in to our selfish desires and put the concerns of others secondary to what we want. The influence and prompting of the world around us is to take care of yourself first. To break free from that we need to be accountable. Who are we accountable to?
We need to find ourselves a faithful friend, one we can trust. One who cares enough about us to tell us the truth. With such a friend we can improve our walk tremendously. We will succeed more than we fail. And when we fail we will have someone there to stand beside us and help us get back on track.
Ecclesiastes in 4:9-10,12 tells us “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! …. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Our ability to live a life that brings Glory to God is dependent on those we surround ourselves with. With the right influence and associations, we have the opportunity to make a difference that matters. Build your life on the foundation that will not only help you, but will help those who depend on you, start with Jesus. It is good to live life with someone alongside, someone we can depend on. It is the basis on which strong fulfilling lives are built.
John 10:10; NLT; The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.