Our nation recently celebrated Independence Day. On that day I celebrate by watching the movie, Independence Day, and remembering my Grandma Daisy. Grandma was born on July 4th many years ago. She worked hard and set herself to complete her tasks. She was independent and could do whatever was needed to get a job done. She could work with tools, sew a complete outfit from whatever material was at hand and she could make whole wheat bread from ground grain grown from her neighboring fields.
Her independence was a stumbling block for her when she needed to let go of this life. Her determination to do it herself made it difficult to relax and meet Jesus, even though that was the desire of her heart. I remember my mother telling me of how she sat at her mother’s side, holding her hand, whispering, “It’s okay, Momma, just relax, it’s okay to go.”
What will I do with my independent streak? I have spent my entire life “do it by myself!” I wanted to be as good as my brothers, as brave as my brothers and as skilled as my brothers. I raced to catch up to them. I tried to be one of them. I dared to do things I was scared to do to get their approval. So, now that almost all my children are no longer teens, whom will I catch up to? What will I strive for?
God asks in Jeremiah 2:29, “What do you have against me, running off to assert your independence?” Is that what I want to do? Run away from God? No. I want to run to God. I want to seek him every day in everything I do.
God gives me the freedom to choose him. He has proclaimed freedom to me to reunite with my family, to set me free from sin. And now I have responsibilities. What will I do with this freedom? Will I be like my Grandma? She spent each day in prayer for her loved ones. She spent time making music and bringing it to others. She wrote poems, lessons and stories to bring others closer to God. She made an effort every day to do her duty as she saw it. Yes, I want to be like Grandma.
Grandma knew the secret of Proverbs 12:34. The diligent find freedom in their work. She set the timer to give herself incentive. Work for 30 minutes on housework and then you can play the piano for 15 minutes! Now that sounds like fun! She knew how to turn work, even drudge work, into something that could be enjoyed. Even if all you enjoyed was finishing it.
So what are my duties? What are my responsibilities as a free Christian? I need to pray every day. I should pray for my needs, but also the needs of my family, my extended family, my church, my state and my country. I should pray for strangers and the people on the street. I should pray for peace, safety and health of those around me, even those I don’t particularly like. Maybe I should pray more for them.
I should also spend time in the word of God learning more of how to pray and how to act, as God wants me to live. Only when I read his word and study it do I begin to see myself turning away the sinful nature and listening more to the Holy Spirit within me. His word provides me with strength to move to the next task, the desire to do what I need to do, and the ability to accomplish those tasks for his glory, not mine.
Every day I should ask for and look for opportunities to do God’s will. God can bless any actions whether it is sharing kayaking with the guy from the food court or sharing a smile and a word of encouragement. Peter knew this and told us to respect the authorities. He said to exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Those are hard words for me. I must remember to respect those in authority over me. So I need to spend some time each day not railing at life, or interruptions or the bad things that come my way. I need to spend some time each day looking past those things at what it is that God wants me to do right then.
Isaiah says that my strength comes from settling down in complete dependence on God. I need to relax as Grandma had to at the end of her life. I need to let God be God and settle down in complete dependence on him and do what he asks me to do. I need to remember that I do everything for him, and he watches out for me and mine. He will provide for us as I look to him and put him first in my life. Help me to settle down in complete dependence on you God.
I always go back to Colossians 3:17. Grandma wrote a scripture song and played it many times to wake me up or get me going when I visited her house. The verse still resounds in my heart as the melody flows through my mind. I hope that I am as big a light as Grandma Daisy was to those around her. I hope that my children (and future grandchildren) will remember scripture from my teachings as much as I do from my Grandma.
Col 3:17 And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.