The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. — Psalm 18:2 NIV
Independence, individuality and self-reliance are widely praised and sought after in today’s world. We may find encouragement to “do what’s right for you” or “go your own way” in casual conversation and on TV and social media. Did God design us for independence and individuality? Or did he create us for something more?
In This Weekly Devotional:
Is Independence Biblical?
This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.’ — Jeremiah 17:5,7 NIV
What Is Independence?
Independence is freedom from outside control and influence. For example, babies and young children are completely dependent on their parents. They are not able to make their own choices and are completely influenced by an outside factor, their parents. However, as children grow up they gain more independence and freedom. Instead of being told when to eat and go to bed, they choose when to do these things.
What Does the Bible Say About Independence?
Independence in the Bible is not a black and white issue with a clear-cut easy answer. There are some things that the Bible clearly encourages freedom and independence from. For example, Hebrews 13:5 encourages freedom from the love of money. Romans 12:16 warns against pride. 2 Timothy 1:7 says we are not under the control of a fearful spirit.
However, the Bible also clearly encourages us to dependent on God and put our trust in him. Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6). Dependency on God is not a negative, but rather something we can strive for in our Christian walks.
Depending on God
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? — Psalm 56:3-4 NIV
How do we depend on God? Well, we can start with the basics and go to him in prayer and spend time with him in his word. Through this we can learn how to trust him in each situation. Perhaps, we want to act in anger toward someone or maybe we want to respond to someone with pride. As we learn to depend on God and his goodness, we can grow and become mature in these situations.
As Christians, Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives. We don’t want to be free from his influence and control, but rather surrender fully to him and the plans he has for us.
God Created Us for Community
So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. — 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 NIV
At times, individuality can be taken so far that we lose sight of the value of others and about caring for their needs. If we are always chasing our own happiness and desires, we may push the opportunity to love and serve others aside.
As Christians, God designed us to be in community with each other. Although the idea of being independent and not needing others may sound appealing, it is not how God intended we live. Rather than forming a life of self-reliance and isolation, we can build our lives around God and honor his plan.
He created us to learn and grow in a Christian community. He calls us to love and care for one another. Let’s not look to ourselves, rather let’s look to Christ and depend on and trust in him as he calls us to community and unity as believers.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. — Acts 2:42-47 NIV
Do you want to join a community of students with a desire to grow and learn? At Grand Canyon University (GCU), students have many opportunities to connect and serve each other while pursuing their degree and growing in their faith.
GCU’s College of Theology offers degree programs such as Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries and Bachelor of Arts in Worship Arts. To learn more, fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor.
Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on June 1, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.