Our liberty comes with a cost. Whether it’s personal, political, or national, someone has to continually pay in order to maintain it. Christ has paid for our spiritual freedom, while many men and women sacrifice their lives and limbs to ensure the physical freedoms we enjoy today. Discover how recognizing freedom’s value gives us the ability to serve one another.
A child’s first step is an occasion that parents gleefully celebrate. Like a child’s first word or a teenager’s first job, it is an independence day of sort.
From the moment we are born we are learning to grow in self-reliance. We are rewarded with smiles when we start walking and dessert when we learn to say “please”. Though they don’t always see eye to eye in the definition or application of independence, it is no doubt the desire of both parent and child. When it was time for my sister to learn to tie her own shoes, she defiantly announced that she would not learn until she was 5. The best interest of the child is a concept parents see more thoroughly.
When a father stands beside his child with his hand on the back of the bicycle seat, the goal is to slowly hold on less and less. If he lets go it is not because he doesn’t want to hold onto his son, but because he wants to show his son the joy of bike riding. Though he let go of the seat, he did not let go of his role as parent. When boy and bike come tumbling to the pavement, consoling arms are not far off. Though the child moves in newfound independence, he knows his dad is near. And just as falls are more bearable when someone bigger is watching on, so the accomplishment is more victorious when it is done in dad’s sight.
Independence, it seems, is known at its best when it is experienced within certain roles. The psalmist reminds us that this is true also of God and man.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children-
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:13-19).
With Adam and Eve, we are children struggling to exert our independence. When we see ourselves as we are – children living near the Father, dust and fleeting flower – we flourish under the everlasting throne. When we fail to remember who we are, we miss both the joys of childhood and the wonder of independence.
There is something disturbing about seeing the roles of parent and child reversed. When a 3-year-old has learned that she can control her mom and dad, she is merely exercising the independence they taught her. And yet we are aware that it is independence gone wrong. The child is playing the role of something other than child; she is living outside of her own best interest. That a child first learns to seek independence at all is because of the love and guidance of a parent.
To seize the power of independence while forgetting dependence on the one who longs most for our success is a disheartening sight. Within the nature of independence lies the truth that we are, at our most authentic, undecorated level, wholly dependent upon something beyond ourselves. “I became my own,” said C.S. Lewis, “when I gave myself to Another.” It is in giving our lives to Christ that we find them, declaring independence in the freedom his life ordains.
As the psalmist declares and our lives confess, we are people seeking what we were created to know. Under the everlasting throne of God our days of independence are most worth celebrating. For He who formed us is the Maker of independence, in his service is perfect freedom.
Copyright © 2004 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).
You may watch the video with testimony of Christian combat veterans at the link below: