Bible Reading: James 4:7-10
When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. James 4:10
Most Americans can’t let July 4 slide by without a celebration. The party isn’t just about fireworks, hot dogs, or family togetherness while parked in a traffic jam on the way to the beach. It helps us remember the principles America stands for. And it’s a salute to the day that our nation adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing our freedom from Great Britain and the founding of a new form of government. That first Independence Day was a huge step for our country—but a lousy day for the king of England.
Do you realize, though, that there is something better than being independent? It’s being dependent on God.
You’ve probably never thought of throwing a Dependence Day party. Dependence is humbling, isn’t it? We don’t like to admit that we aren’t able to do everything for ourselves.
God gives each of us strengths and gifts to serve him. But as soon as we try to serve him in our own strength, we are declaring independence—and that’s exactly the opposite of what God wants. God wants us instead to admit a fact we find hard to force out of our mouth: Without his strength working through us, we are weak.
At the moment when Paul felt the most helpless in life, here’s what the Lord told him: “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” Then Paul added, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Bragging about your weakness sounds like a weird way to gain power, but that’s how God works!
As Christians we have all chosen to admit that we need God to save us. Trusting Christ means saying we could never earn his love and forgiveness by our own strength. But the next step God wants us to take is to admit we also totally need his help as we live the Christian life.
There are many things God made you to do well. But before you launch into life in your own strength, admit that you depend on God for his power and guidance in everything you do. Don’t be frustrated or ashamed when you have to rely on God. You can celebrate your dependence . . . every day of the year!
TALK: Is it hard for you to admit you need help? Why?
PRAY: God, we want to rely on you in everything we do. Show your power through us as we live in dependence on you.
ACT: Give this dependence thing a shot. Try serving God today in a way you don’t think you’re good at—and ask him to fill you with power as you do!