For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
America is a nation that values independence. We have an annual holiday to celebrate our nation’s independence. Within our society, it is seen as a good thing to be financially independent and work to support ourselves and our family. Young adults seek independence from their parents and any input from them in their lives. It is seen as a mark of strength to be able to do things without any help. To be dependent is seen to be weak. Only helpless children or ill people or the elderly are dependent, according to the world’s view.
But if we take an honest look at ourselves, we’ll see, as Paul did, that we have nothing good within ourselves and completely lack even the ability to do good, no matter how much we may want to. If we have that desire to do good, we must humble ourselves to a position of dependence. And there is only one source, one person we can rely on for help to be good and do good. On our own, we could never attain to the standard of righteousness God would require.
Thankfully, God always has the right answer and the solution to all our problems. He sent Jesus to set us free from our own sinful nature. We can take His mind upon us, take His thoughts and attitudes, take His righteousness and apply it to our own lives. If we strive to live independently of Christ and still do good, we will fail. There is nothing within us as human beings to overcome our inherent sin nature. And blessedly, we don’t have to do it on our own.
To rely on God is not weakness. It takes a strong person to have a committed faith and a deep trust. What a comfort we should find in knowing that we don’t have to go it alone, that the sin within us can be defeated, that a guide and a helper is right there with us always. Let’s put an end to an attitude of independence in our lives. Let’s be willing to ask for help. Let’s be willing to submit and let God lead us. Let’s listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow His guidance. Let’s not try to do on our own what only Christ can do in and through us.