Grace frees you from the dissatisfying claustrophobia of your individualism to enjoy the fulfilling freedom of loving and serving God.
Individualism is not freedom; it is bondage. Living for yourself is not liberty; it is a self-imposed prison. Doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, and how you want to do it has never been the good life; it never leads to anything good. Making up your own rules and following your own paths leads to disaster. God calls you to himself and commands you to follow him so that, by grace, he may free you from you. In calling you to obedience, God is not robbing you of liberty, but is leading you to the only place where liberty can be found.
To understand this, you must look at life from the vantage point of creation and the fall into sin. As Creator, God designed you to live a dependent life. You were built for a life of loving, worshipful dependency and obedience. You and I just don’t have the power and wisdom we would need to live an independent existence. To try to live life completely independent of God is like trying to drive a beautiful boat down a superhighway. That boat is a wonderful creation, loaded with amazing design details, but it was not built to run on a hard surface. If you try to run it on land, you will destroy the boat and you will go nowhere fast.
The entrance of sin into the world and into our hearts teaches us that we were not hardwired for independence. It also complicated things. The fall made us all a danger to ourselves. Because of the sin in us, we think bad things, we desire bad things, we are attracted to bad things, and we choose bad things—and we are blind to much of this going on inside of ourselves. So not only do we need God’s presence and his wisdom to guide and protect us, but we also need his grace to rescue us.
The doctrines of creation and the fall drive us to conclude that living for ourselves—that is, working to independently rule our own little worlds—can never work. Life is only ever found when we put ourselves in the hands of our Creator and cast ourselves on his amazing grace. An honest look at how you were put together by the Creator and at what sin did to you destroys any confidence you have in your ability to make it on your own and drives you to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It really is true that individualism is a delusion, that joyful submission is the good life, and that Jesus alone is able to transport you from one to the other. If you find more joy in serving God than yourself, you know that grace has entered your door, because only grace has the power to rescue you from you.
For further study and encouragement: John 8:31–38
Taken from New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp, © 2014, pp. 132-162. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.