Independence; July 9, 2018


John 5:30 “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

The Bible has sections that are as easy to eat as cookies and milk, but this part of John is more like steak, requiring a sharp knife and careful chewing. (1 Corinthians 3:2) What strikes me about this verse is that even Jesus wasn’t independent. He was the physical manifestation of the Trinity, but considered Himself no more independent than, say, a hand is independent of the person it is attached to. He told His disciples, and by extension us, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Even when we accept that, we forget that Jesus operated under the same rules, which He referred to several times, not just here. That should squash any complaints we have, but unfortunately it doesn’t. To use one of my mother’s expressions, we tend to be “independent as a hog on ice.” Not only will such a pig not go where you want it to go, it can’t even go where it wants to go! America has just celebrated Independence Day, but we’ve got to remember that in no way are we independent of God. That was a major part of the original sin in the Garden of Eden. Succumbing to the devil’s temptation, Eve and then Adam decided to do something that God had expressly forbidden, placing themselves on His level in terms of authority. That was not only tragic, it was incredibly stupid. Sadly, that strain of stupidity runs in us today, and as the saying goes, “You can’t fix stupid.” That’s why we have got to stay humble, repenting of our stupid mistakes as soon as we realize we’ve made them, striving to listen to our Father at all times so that we may do as He directs, knowing full well that on our own, we’ll get it wrong.

This is me to a “T”. I have a high IQ, which make it all the more tempting to decide things on my own, without listening to God. It wasn’t that many years ago when God really got it through to me that He’s smart and I’m not. Comparing myself to others not so intellectually blessed, I operated in conceit far more than I even realized, and that is dangerous indeed. That makes it fairly easy to spot others in the same trap. I have been shocked at some of the comments on my blog by people who deny the Trinity. Granted, Three being One is beyond our grasp, but that’s no reason to deny John 1 and the whole Upper Room Discourse (John 14-17). We try to fit God into our framework, and that will always fail miserably. I am to rejoice that I can’t figure God out or explain Him, because if I could, I would be limiting Him to me and my abilities, and that would be tragic.

Father, thank You for my dependence on You. Thank You for helping me grasp it more and more. Help me not try to run off on my own, like the proverbial pig, but rather listen obediently to You at all times, fulfilling the plans that You have for me, (Jeremiah 29:11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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