The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 (A psalm of David)
A few days ago, as I was mentally preparing for our nation’s holiday a thought occurred to me. Amongst my planning out menus and grocery lists, I began contemplating what it really means to be independent. According to a definition search on Google, independent is defined as, “free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority; not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.”
When our forefathers founded this country, that type of independence was exactly what they were searching and fighting for – the independence to live and believe as they wanted. To be able to prosper in a great nation; a nation that was, and is still, the greatest nation on earth! I thank God for America… the home of the free and the brave.
How incredibly blessed we are to live in such a country! What freedom we possess.
But when it comes to our spiritual lives, this type of independence doesn’t work. I don’t know about you, but when I try to operate outside of my dependence on God, I usually end up making a bigger mess out of things – and not just for myself, but for those around me, too. When I try to be my own boss, or fix things on my own, it doesn’t ever really turn out the way I’d hoped it would. And most times, after I’ve messed things up, I just want it to be better than it was, or at least find a place where I feel comfortable settling for “good enough.”
But that’s not at all what God wants for me. God doesn’t want me to settle for “good enough,” or even better. He wants what is best for me.
That’s what I love about this psalm. It reminds me that Jesus, my shepherd, will do just that. He knows what is best, and He will find the green grasses and the quiet waters where I will find rest – rest that can only come through Him. He will guide me and comfort me. He will give me what I need and fill my soul until it overflows. He will lead me in ways of everlasting life! And He will never leave me.
Too many times, we associate freedom with independence. But I think true freedom, the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved, really comes through dependence on Jesus. Where else am I completely set free? When I am leaning on Him, trusting in Him, I no longer worry about figuring things out, or making it on my own. I am completely free from the worry and anxieties of this world, because I have surrendered to the One who causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT).
So, where is my freedom found?
My freedom is found in dependence. In dependence on the good and faithful Shepherd, Jesus.
– Kimi Miller
Director, Lifegate Women