It makes sense that a nation conceived in the spirit of independence would have that spirit embedded in its very DNA. The problem is that our human tendency toward sin perverts that spirit and the enemy of our souls takes advantage of it.

After more than 240 years of that independent spirit, mixed with the frontier spirit, and decades of national ascendancy and “success” we Americans are so imbued with a sense of “rightness” about that spirit, we do not know how to subdue or surrender it. So the independent spirit demands its expression and ruins relationships and social institutions.

But how can the church, a divine institution requiring mutual submission, function properly with people who have such a strong impulse to be independent?

How does the “independent spirit” manifest itself improperly and even destructively in our churches?

•We have lost the spirit of “followership.” We agree to do only what we agree with. We don’t like being told what to do.
•We have turned our leaders into people who must follow the majority rather than give them the role of guiding and shaping the majority.
•We believe that our personal opinion is as good as the next person’s whether we have been diligent to gather information and validate our opinion or not.
•We break commitments easily when “something else comes up “ that we would rather do.
•We can make it on our own. We don’t need anybody else’s help.
•We make it extra hard for leaders to create teams who work well together, because each person has his own idea of how to do things.

•We pay little attention to the counsel of previous generations nor care much for history because after all “it’s our experience and modern perspective that counts.”

Where else do you see the independent spirit rising up in your life or church? Pray the following prayer over each of the previous manifestations of the independent spirit that you can see:

Lord, forgive me/us for giving Satan a foothold in my life and our church by letting the independent spirit go unchecked. Please bring greater conviction about this problem and draw us toward true humility that listens, trusts, follows and depends on others. Amen.