The myth of independence, the trap of dependence

Posted on February 7, 2018 · Posted in Apologetics, Authority, Culture

Independence is a myth. Dependence is a trap. Can both of these statements be true? Not only are they both true, but failing to acknowledge these truths will result in struggles throughout life. Let’s see why.

Independence is a myth.

From the beginning people were created to be in a dependent relationship with God. This is part of the DNA of the soul of every human. Adam and Eve were dependent upon God to sustain life. God planted the garden for them. God placed the garden near rivers to allow for rich, fertile soil. God commanded Adam to guard and protect this precious garden. And then, finally, God provided a wife for Adam and gave directions about how families were to flourish and grow from generation to generation.

Dependence is a trap.

This is where things get interesting. As we just saw we are all dependent creatures. The challenge before each of us is to recognize where our dependency lies. Every human on the planet is dependent upon God for “life and breath and everything else!” The enemy of your soul wants you to believe that this is not true. He wants you to think that you are in control of your own destiny. He knows that without a clear sense of our need of God’s care we will be slaves to people and the things that we desire. This is the trap of dependence.

No human relationship, no matter how special it is, is capable of replacing God. Ultimately, relationships that are not rooted with the purpose to bring honor to God will break under the huge weight of unmet expectations.

However, human relationships lived out under God’s direction will thrive on a balance of dependence upon God and people. If you and I rely upon each other as the Holy Spirit directs in Scripture then dependency is a very good thing. However, if we do not, then dependency is ugly and destructive. Looking for another person to be everything to you, to be your source of happiness or fulfillment is the trap that will consume your life. Attempting to find fulfillment in people, apart from God, creates a needy dependence which leads to frustration and bitterness.

You and I are made for dependence on God and others. Only by trusting God can we learn how to safely trust people. God made you to be a dependent person, first upon him and then upon people.

There are two places where this trust is best shown and sadly where this trust is often tragically abused. The two places are the family and the church. When churches and families put God first and demonstrate care and the spirit of true servant-dependence we see the beauty of dependence in action. Churches and families must become safe, caring places where dependent people are cared for by following the sacrificial directions of God’s word. We must not allow the church and the family to become traps of human quicksand where dependent people disappear and fall prey to abuse and neglect.

Who are the dependent people? We all are. May God help us to care for each other as true servants so that we can rejoice in our dependence on Christ.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.