Sunday, March 4, 2012


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
"It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.' "
Matthew 4:1-4  NASB

I'd like to marry this verse with another one today - I Corinthians 13:11:

"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child.  When I became a man, I did away with childish things."

I'm not a self made man.  I'm a product of two parents, and was raised like all of us to be DEPENDENT on creation.  But, like all creation - specifically  man - I constantly fight for my INDEPENDENCE.  

Our country won its freedom via the War of Independence.  Through the ages we've been taught by our school, parents, and what-all that you need to "stand on your own two feet" and "pull yourselves up by your bootstraps."

Bookstores are full of do-it-yourself books and self-help books.  There's even a toy commercial touting our growing independence with the jingle, "I'm a big kid now!"


Let's start at the beginning our our lives. We're delivered from the "wilderness" of our mother's womb.  The first thing we need after birth is to be cleaned up - our baptism, if you will.  Then, we are presented to our parents by the doctor saying, "Here's you new bouncing baby boy/girl!"  The proud parents take us into their arms and shower us with love and affection.

"He/She looks just like us!"

We get our first feeding through bottle or breast.  We suck down our nourishment satisfied that our needs are met and fall asleep.  The proper feedings takes place day in and day out - multiple times in the day - and we grow, soon to enter the toddler years.

We are led by our parents to the new throne in our lives - the high chair.  Here, we learn to take solid food from our parents.  It is also the place where we learn to feed ourselves.  In this process, we play with our food.  Some gets in our mouths, but, most gets all over us - or falls to the floor.  After some growing, we actually get better at feeding ourselves, with mostly all of the food getting into our mouths and stomachs - unless it's peas or spinach.  

After more training from our parents and growing older, our palates are expanded as well.  We become INDEPENDENT eaters.  The purity of mother's milk in the infant years and toddler solid foods begins to devolve when junk food is introduced into childhood - taking hold during the teenage eating years.  As teenagers, we like it fast and in a bag.  We gobble it down, hardly tasting and barely digesting our food.  

Adulthood sets in as we leave our parents eagerly carving our own niche in the world.  We can eat whatever we want, led by our own desires - and the habits formed in our youth.  We become what we eat.  Careless eating habits manifest eventually with a bulge to prove the quality of the choices we've made.  

To that end, some of us now have to give up our INDEPENDENCE, and now become DEPENDENT, relying on prescription medicine and doctor's orders to live with any quality of life.  We become like children again - relearning what we should or should not eat - back where we started - not much of a progression!

When I started out as a Christian, I was birthed into the Kingdom.  I presented myself to those who witnessed to me, making them proud parents of a convert.  I needed the nourishment of the Bible so I immediately went out and bought one.  I didn't read it much - didn't really understand it.  But, I carried it around, kinda "playing with it" - like so many Cheerios on a toddler's high chair.  In fellowship, I would turn to the page our pastor was teaching on and read along.  Some of it got in, some of it didn't.  Most fell to the floor. 
Eventually, being led by the Spirit in my own wilderness time - church to church, translation to translation - I slowly grew.  As I grew, I picked up the Bible more often - and actually read it.  The more I read, the more it actually got in  The more it got in, the more the Spirit could use to discipline and shape me.  The more I read, the more convicted I became.  The more convicted I became, the more I was willing to be led.  The more willing to be led by the Spirit, the more my INDEPENDENCE melted, and the more DEPENDENT on God I became.

Exactly the opposite of the world's standard - cheering INDEPENDENCE in any form.  However, in God's economy, the more DEPENDENT we are on Him, the more mature we become!  When confronted by Satan on the mountain, and tempted in a time of physical hunger, Jesus had no need for an INDEPENDENT solution - using magic tricks - turning stones into bread to produce instant gratification. 

The source of Jesus' strength was His absolute DEPENDENCE on God the Father and the Spirit Who had led Him into the wilderness.

The highest level of maturity we can obtain is this same absolute DEPENDENCE on the Word of God.  Recognizing our total need for the "fresh News from Heaven" - our old nature becomes "old news".  We disregard the world's junk food and become better equipped to be led by the Spirit to confront Satan and his ultimate weapon - our former self.  

How will we respond?  Where will we go?

Being fully controlled by Scripture and the Spirit, our vehicles - our lives - are not "led free".  Daily I fight for my DEPENDENCE on the Lord.  In this world, the fight for INEPENDENCE apart from God has furthered the downfall of mankind.  Poor choices in the junk food aisle create the bulge that breaks the scale:  A world with no direction and the darkest of destinations. 

As I leave the childish things, I answer the previous two questions like my brother Peter in John 6:68:

"Lord, to whom shall we go, - who will lead us - only You have the Words of Eternal Life."

How do you read?  What do you think? 

Sharing INDEPENDENCE this week with:
Faith Filled Fridays at Beholding Glory


  1. Lovely thoughts, Mr. Ross. Keep picking up the pen!

  2. Oh, I love the analogies you've made - how perfect! It's so against our human natures to fight FOR the dependence that we need. Thank you for a great reminder.

    Followed you here from Spiritual Sundays!

  3. Wow. This is incredible!!! I love how you'be laid this out. Thank you so much for linking it up and sharing! This morning, I am reminded to fight for dependance on the Lord today. The most precious of all things

  4. So true, Ed. Thanks for the beautiful way you've contrasted the world's route to independence and God's desire for dependency on him. When we know how much we need him, it's a sweet place to be. Reminds me of the little chorus, Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word...Jesus, Jesus how I trust him, how I've proved him or and or. Jesus , Jesus precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust him more.
    I used the same scripture from John 6 in my thoughts this week.
    Oh, how we need him!

  5. What a beautiful post. We like to think we are independent, but we are dependent upon so many others and whether we know it or not, we are dependent on God's grace. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  6. My littlest likes to play, "Opposite Day" - where what he says is the opposite of what is. Your post reminds me that with God, sometimes it seems like "Opposite Day" - but, just WOW, what an Opposite Day experience He reveals. My dependence on Him truly liberates me:) Wonderful Message!!!

  7. Fantastic post! The world offers so much "spiritual junk food"; we need to feast on the riches and nourishment of God's Word! Thanks for sharing!


I welcome your comments and conversation as we enter into His Story together!

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