Originally posted on mjcoombe.com
by Matthew Coombe Vice President of the Institute of Biblical Defense
For the longest time I had considered myself in a way that was not biblical. It wasn’t an overt or intentional evil, but rather pride mistaken for strength. If you’ve ever seen the movie About a Boy, you know that protagonist is playboy with Peter pan syndrome who is not only incorrigible but believes himself to be a pillar of strength and independence. When questioned about the futility of trusting in himself he claims, “Some men are Islands, I am a bloody island!” But throughout the course of the movie he comes to realize his need for others, and eventually learns to love and trust.
I remember the first time I watched this movie, I was completely enthralled with the main character, he was me. The way he thought, the things he said, it was completely me. While the character learned relatively quickly his faults and became more dependent on others, my dependence came about after a much greater amount of time.
The two scripture verses I first memorized were both centered on dependence. One on God, and one on other believers. Nahum 1:7 “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in him. “ If a single thesis can be gleaned from the entirety of the Old Testament it is God claiming, “I alone am worthy of worship.” Of all the things that worship entails it must occupy some dependence. Worship means “worthship” when you worshiping something you are claiming its ultimate worth. But words alone are not that significant, true worship is entailed by actions. And in order to react to God’s single thesis and worship Him, we must be dependent on Him. True worship cannot exist if one is claiming independence for they have not understood God’s single thesis—independence is self-worship.
The other verse was Proverbs 27:17, “As Iron sharpens Iron so one man sharpens the countenance of his friends.” This proverb contends the reader to surround himself with trusted people who can lift him when he falls, be some light when it is dark. It is a call for dependence on others.
Is independence then without effect? Absolutely not! It does however need to be focused! The independence the LORD blessed/cursed me with has become one of my greatest strengths, but only when it is directed at him. Even in scripture we see the interesting dichotomy of people who are both very dependent and independent. For example Paul, he is so focused on the will of God that he says things like, “I will try to find a way in the will of God to come and see you.” He is always talking about his concern for the church and specific people, but he was likewise able to do much of his ministry alone. He had found and continued on in the perfect balance.
Through years of breaking me, I have started to understand this balance. I now start my days with a prayer, “Lord I declare my absolute dependence on you.” This is good. But I need to learn to be dependent on God’s people too. I challenge you, examine yourself, of what do you trust and are dependent on? What is that source’s worthship?