It has been argued that independence is really just a figment of our imagination, that the truth is: we are never truly independent. We are hindered by restrictive parenting, bound by financial limitations, obligated by responsibilities to family, etcetera, etcetera.

Nevertheless, many seniors are anticipating a perceived freedom that will materialize with their graduation. It is a euphoric moment in a young life, set in motion by accomplishments and transition. Some will be off to college, others into careers and still others are gearing up to cross the border into the state of confusion (they have no idea what they are going to do and are quite honest about it). Whatever their path, wherever their journey leads them, there is the idea that graduating from high school constitutes an open door into the land of freedom.

If there is one lesson with which an old graduate can equip you for launching into the unknown, let it be this: the only freedom you will ever have will be in Christ. Our servitude is often subtle but it is still very real. Some choose to be slaves to material goals, sacrificing everything for the almighty dollar and all the perishable things it briefly affords. Some allow the pleasures of the flesh to consume them, becoming slaves to the escapism of drugs, alcohol, sex and a variety of other temporary thrills, whose consequences are always damaging. Some do not consciously choose but allow others to choose for them; just another path to misery.

Know this: every road in life has guardrails. It is the road we choose that matters, not the false assumption of traveling without boundaries. Therefore, Paul would tell the Romans, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slave whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). There are only two choices: God or self.

To be sure, graduation is a milestone, the ending and beginning of epochs. But, in the life of a young person, understand that independence is a pipedream. You are created a social creature by God (Genesis 2:18) and will forever be dependent upon relationships and their natural limitations. Your only real choice is the persons (or Person) and pursuits in whom you invest your time and talents. Choose wisely to whom you will surrender your perceived independence.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14). This is true independence.

Jeff Sweeten