Dependent Independence

“Let us go!“

You could literally hear the screams of freedom from the bespectacled man robed in his onion-coloured Agbada and a fila that sat in his head with dignity; worn like a crown.

“Let my people go!” Obafemi Awolowo echoed in the direction of white superiority.

There He stood with an unmistakable resemblance to his Jewish mentor. A mentor who formed red seas with blood and parted them. Shouting the same words- “Let my people go!”

I know, there’s so much to talk about. The journey so far since 1960’s “ceremonial liberation” of Nigeria till date will make a heck of a tedious conversation. A conversation that may just leave one in despair and depression. Is there still hope for this country of ours? Well, that won’t be the topic of discussion for today. There’s something equally important to look at.

Freedom is such an expensive commodity. That sounds ironic doesn’t it? That the thing which makes one free is not obtained freely. It comes at a high price. Just stay with me we’re getting somewhere good.

There are two kinds of people in slavery.

  1. Those who don’t know they are enslaved and
  2. Those who have gotten comfortable with it so much so that freedom becomes distasteful.

The first kind of people are those that one must make them see the shackles around their necks; the sin that entangles them. But let’s focus on the second group of people.

The second kind of people are like another colonized country; those in the days of Moses’ who literally begged Moses to take them back to Egypt where things were a bit easier and they didn’t have to struggle in the wilderness claiming that they were free. In fact, Nigerians had enjoyed certain “benefits” and “pleasures” from the British rule so much so that the British people had grown on them. 

Have you ever been in such a situation? Back when doing wrong things was common place for you. Even though you may not have liked the things you did, yet it had already become a part of you. And then someone offered a way out of it; the path of freedom. Yet you find yourself struggling even more in the wilderness of sin. And nothing about that path looks like you’re actually free from” Egypt”.

What then do you do? I really hope you can relate to this as much as I can.

You need to realise that your independence is still very dependent. Yup, sounds weird, but it’s true. You’ll get what I mean soon enough.  

Let me explain using the example of the Israelites. These people were fresh out of Egypt. They had no escape route, yet they crossed the Red Sea, they were thirsty and God supplied water from rocks, they were hungry and He rained bread from the sky, they were scorched by the hot desert sun and a pillar of cloud served not just as a shade to them, but as a GPS. They had no torchlights, yet their paths were illuminated by a pillar of fire. All the resources they needed to live an enjoyable life in true freedom was right there at their disposal. God had invested so much in these ones He called His chosen people. I mean, they had it all. But where did things go terribly wrong?

Soon after, they started to forget what they had and who was with them and decided to take matters into their own hands. They chose to doubt God and then build and create their own god.

As much as they had truly gained independence, it seemed to be non-existent and obscure, meanwhile, they really were free. Many of them struggled on that wilderness journey and lost their very lives. Were they truly free from slavery? Yes. Did they act like they preferred the old life? Yes. Did they try to make sure they were free on their own terms by themselves? Yes.

One thing to take home is that you have to stop trying to fight on your own and by yourself. Wars are not won that way. Armies win wars; not soldiers.

Jesus, a man robed in a Jewish tunic and thorns that sat on his head, which he wore in agony like a crown, gave the shout of freedom too. “Let my people go!”

The Bible lets us know that in Christ we have been made free [John 8:36]. The bondage and hold of sin have been broken for those who believe. He took our sins and tossed them into the wilderness of forgiveness. He drowned our transgressions in the Red Sea called – His blood. But sadly, so many believers live like they haven’t actually been set free.

For those of you who have had some struggles, you must have heard it countless times that you are to declare certain scriptures, pray and confess that “you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and you are not a slave to sin”. Yet, you aren’t still seeing significant changes from those stubborn cycles in your life. Sometimes, you even look at yourself in the mirror and ask “Am I really what a true Christian looks like?” “Am I even truly saved?” “I say all these New Creation Reality stuff, yet there’s nothing to show for it.” “Why do I keep going back to my vomit?”

The only way out of this fictional cage is the realization that your independence is only made possible by His grace. It is grace that sees you through till the end ultimately, not your works, your ability, your own self will and control; but God’s grace.

When Paul the apostle said that he laboured more abundantly than the other apostles because of grace, you best believe that you will live victoriously as a believer only by this same grace (1 Cor 15:10). Another time, he prayed about a struggle:

2 Cor 12:8. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

2Cor 12:9. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Don’t live life trying to be free all by your power and strength. Remember that all the resources that you need to journey through the wilderness of life to the promise land are available to you. Find your freedom in God’s very present and available grace. Rest in grace, trust in grace, utilize this grace to win the little battles. It really is available. Regardless of the mistakes you made in the wilderness; regardless of the doubts you had even after God had previously met your needs with “manna”; forget the past and forge ahead to a beautiful future of dependent independence. Depend upon His grace in this freedom you have.

Dear believer; I say to you that you truly are free; regardless of what things look like now.

So hearty cheers to freedom. Happy Independence.

Kenneth Olusanya

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