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Bible Topics: Independence
Definition: Freedom from outside control or support; being self-governing. In the negative sense, it is unwillingness to be under obligation to the Lord or others, epitomized by the phrase "do your own thing."
1. As we mature and become more responsible, the Lord entrusts us with a measure of independence.
- Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.
- John 15:14-15 Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.
- Galatians 3:24-26 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 4:1,2 [A measure of independence comes with age.] Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. [See also 3:25.]
- Galatians 6:5 [Once we come "of age" we are then responsible for our decisions and actions.] For every man shall bear his own burden.
- Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
- Hebrews 5:14 [With maturity comes the capacity to receive further truth.] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
2. Even when trusted with independence, we are to operate in cooperation and unity with the body of believers.
- Acts 13:2,3 [Paul and Barnabas went away on a mission together, but continued working in harmony with other Christians throughout their journey.] As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
- Acts 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
- 1 Corinthians 3:9a For we are labourers together with God.
- 1 Corinthians 12:13,14 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.
- Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
3. Jesus taught His disciples to work together, not independently.
- Mark 6:7a And He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two.
- Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come.
4. Unity and cooperation were cornerstones of the Early Church.
- John 17:21-23 [Jesus' prayed for His disciples to be in unity:] That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. 22 And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: 23 I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.
- Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
- Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord [together, unitedly] in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
- Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
5. Independence is an ungodly trait.
- Genesis 4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
- Judges 21:24-25 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
- Luke 15:12,13 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
- Ephesians 2:2,3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
- 2 Timothy 4:10a For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.
- 2 Peter 2:10,19a But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. ... 19a While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption. ...
6. Independence undermines unity, which is our strength.
- Proverbs 27:8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
- Ecclesiastes 4:10b Woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
- Jeremiah 34:17 [God decreed a harsh judgment on Judah for promoting the wrong type of independence:] Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ye have not hearkened unto Me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
- Jonah 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
- Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
- Jude 1:11,13 [Paul warns of ungodly false brethren who spread their brand of independence and rebellion.] Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain. … 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
7. Independence leads to other problems and a departure from God's will.
- Deuteronomy 12:8 [Moses tells his people that they'd better shape up when they get to the Promised Land and do better than they did when wandering in the desert.] Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
- Proverbs 1:29-31 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30 They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
- Proverbs 14:14a The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.
- Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
- Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
- Jeremiah 7:24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. [See also 2:5.]
- 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
- 2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy Commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
- Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
8. Those who try to operate independently lose the benefit of others' counsel.
- Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
- Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. [See 21:2.]
- Proverbs 20:18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
- Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
- Proverbs 24:6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
9. And independent attitude nearly always indicates a lack of submissiveness, due to pride.
- Proverbs 13:10a Only by pride cometh contention.
- Psalm 12:3-4 The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
- Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
- Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
- Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
- 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
10. Those who can't work with others can seldom work with God either.
- Deuteronomy 8:14a [Moses warns the people to beware when they arrive in the Promised Land and] then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God.
- Nehemiah 9: 29b Yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto Thy commandments, but sinned against Thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.
- Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
- Jeremiah 2:19,20 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts. 20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
- Hosea 13:6b Their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me.
11. As the Lord's disciples, we are called to be servants -- and servants are not independent.
- Matthew 20:26b-28 Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.
- 1 Corinthians 7:21,22 Art thou called being a servant? Care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
- 1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
- Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
12. Unity in the Spirit, mind and heart should be supreme -- then unity in body will naturally follow.
- 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
- 1 Corinthians 12:20,21,25,26 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
- Ephesians 4:3,4 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.
- Philippians 1:27 Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.
- Philippians 3:16b,17 Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
- 1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.
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