There is a growing trend of striving to be an independent person, not needing to rely on anyone else. However, the truth is, as humans we are dependent—on each other and on God to keep our heads above water.
The Bible gives us two simple examples. Firstly, God gives us our every breath in life: 'the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being'. (see Genesis chapter 2, verse 7) It is important that we maintain a dependency on God and his setup for us, and as a result, the benefit gained is a greater freedom.
Secondly, as 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 12 shows us, we are meant to form a body of believers: 'The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ'.
As Christians we live under a new covenant: one that requires a dependency on Jesus and living under his way that he taught and led by example.
The Bible describes those who do not live under this covenant as being slaves to sin: 'for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him'. (2 Peter chapter 2, verse 19). In Genesis chapter 4, verse 7 it says 'sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it'. Sin is something that enslaves us. There may be pleasure in it for a short time but in the end it only leads to bondage.
The alternative is living under the new covenant that Jesus has set in place for us: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians chapter 5, verses 1–2).
We should be aware of the issues we are free from so that we can claim this freedom. This isn't to say that God won't look after us if we don't think about these things all the time, but we should take up the authority God has given us when the time calls for it.
If we submit to Christ, these are some of the things we are free from:
We are no longer are indebted for our sin which required the penalty of eternal suffering and death: Jesus died in our place.
Evil desires and temptation
Since we live under Jesus' ruling, we have been given authority to overcome the temptation of sinning. Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days with everything and never gave in to sin, and it is this same strength that we are able to claim through Jesus.
We can be certain that the debt for our sin has been paid for in full. We don't need to try to make up for the things we have done wrong, we simply accept the payment (Jesus' death on the cross) as a gift. In Hebrews chapter 10, verse 22 it says "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience...".
The restriction of certain foods was brought about under the law given to Moses in the Old Testament. These elements of the law were designed to cleanse people to be holy before God. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law in total completion. Therefore, as we are in Christ, we are free from the restrictions of ceremonial law.
It says in Acts chapter 10, verse 15, after Peter was instructed to 'Kill and eat' from a range of animals, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean,' meaning that these foods are now allowed to be eaten.
In the last chapter of Ephesians it talks about how we are to stand against the devil's schemes and since we are 'more than conquerors' (Romans chapter 8, verse 37), we need not be bound or worried about his attacks on us.
In the same way we can be free from stresses and anxiety. We are told to not worry about tomorrow and also to not be anxious. God looks after us and all we should be doing is placing our faith in him that he will get us through the tougher times.
Trust in God's power
It is important to acknowledge the role God and his ways have in our life, because it is through our dependency on him that we can be free from a plethora of concerns.
So many of us long to be free of these concerns, so hopefully when some of these issues mentioned come up we are able to recognise them and trust in God's power working through our lives.
Tim Robertson is from Sydney, and likes to write about recent learnings in the hope that other people may also benefit from them.
Tim Robertson's previous articles may be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-robertson.html