My brother was just 8 years old when he decided that he was tired of rules, parents, and family. In search of a life of freedom and independence, he decided to run-away from home.
He’s always been the more daring sibling. We were military kids. Hospital corners were required when making the bed. Dusting furniture and polishing glass preceded Saturday morning cartoons. There was an order and authority in our home, no doubt. Was the burden heavy? We were kids—all rules and responsibilities felt like elaborate schemes forced upon us in order to douse out any manner of carefree enjoyment and bliss. We never once considered that it’d be those very rules and responsibilities that would shape us into productive, accountable, and successful citizens. The infrastructure that my brother found to be so oppressive was actually the very system that would help him live out his days in the bliss he wanted at eight!
Such a struggle for independence sounds cute when you are talking about an eight year old, right?
Well, there were two other children that came to the same conclusion as my brother. Much older children. Adult children, in fact. They decided on a life independent of God. In there case, there was a bit of deception involved, but the bottom line is that they questioned whether the boundaries God had established for them were really for their own good. They questioned whether God was holding out on them…holding them back. When Eve ate that forbidden fruit, she declared that she wouldn’t live in dependence on what God had spoken. She declared that God didn’t quite mean what He’d said. She declared that someone knew better than God did, and if she followed his advice, she would know better too! Eve made the declaration and invited Adam to join in too.
Unlike Adam and Eve, my brother quickly came to his senses, swallowed his pride and turned around to come home.
We all want the abundant life. We want to live free. Free from burden. Free from hard labor. Free from limitations. We want a life free from the control, influence, or aid of anyone else!
We want our independence.
And we think if we have it, we can have that carefree enjoyment and absolutely blissful life we long for. The stark reality is: apart from God, that blissful life (He actually calls it the abundant life, John 10:10) is sure to evade us.
When my brother realized he had no idea what he was doing, or where he was going, humility demanded he make a course correction. In this case, humility demanded that he accept the rules, responsibilities and boundaries that would be a part of his daily life and come back home. Submission was accepting Mom and Dad’s ways.
Submission. A word we so often think of as self-abasing and restrictive. We tend to consider submission as weakness or as somehow being inferior. But what if submission meant being free from fear of jeopardizing your upward mobility while refusing to spend sixty hours at the office every week so you’re not compromising your relationship with your wife and children? What if submission meant feeling complete peace and confidence in making a tough call about one of your preteen’s relationships while navigating the emotional tension with him/her as a result? What if submission was responsible for the environment of mutual serving that makes your marriage flow like warm salted caramel atop an ice cream sundae? Submission to God is like that–liberating. Empowering. Rewarding.
To embrace the fullness of submission, you really must consider it in relation to whom you are submitting. Living in dependence on God means submitting to His authority and leadership in your life. It means subjecting your own will and desires to His. It means seeking to bring about His purposes in every aspect of your life. Declare today that you will place your life under God’s authority. Decide to test every thought, every decision, every response by God’s Holy Word, and then move accordingly. That is submission. Seek not only to know God’s will, but to follow through and make it your own.
Neither Eve nor Adam had the chance to return from their broken relationship with a father that desired to meet their needs and shower them with blessing.
My brother, on the other hand, did get to enjoy the freedoms that come from being a dependent. He was fed and clothed. He was able to enjoy riding his bike with friends, or playing dodge ball in the courtyard. He could watch television, play video games, or just listen to his favorite music. Each of these blessings had some limitation – usually to shield him from some negative or even dangerous consequence. It only took me one time to watch a scene from Nightmare On Elm Street to understand why we weren’t allowed to watch certain types of movies. I couldn’t sleep for weeks (don’t judge me)!
Think about the rules and expectations you place upon your own children. Are you trying to make sure they will never enjoy a day in their lives? Are you trying to kill their joy and break their spirit? Absolutely not.
You can live free and independent of other’s opinions. You can break free from fear. You can live unapologetically, and experience abundant life right where you are on this side of heaven. Declare your in dependence on God, and watch your more abundant life unfold!
HAPPY IN-DEPENDENCE DAY!