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Quit Trying to Do it Yourself

Quit Trying to Do it Yourself

DECEMBER 18, 2019

/ Articles / Quit Trying to Do it Yourself

We have a lot of problems that simply can’t be fixed. When God entered time and space, he did what we can’t do. Grace was born.

For instance, we all have what Pascal said was a “God-shaped vacuum” in our souls and what Augustine referred to—that we were created by God and our hearts were restless until they found their rest in him. The Psalmist said, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).

The problem is that there is nothing we can do about the desire so we hide it, fake it or pretend we have fixed it when we haven’t. We try, of course, with the idols we worship, but we know that idolatry (whether the formal idolatry of making a god with our hands or the informal idolatry of creating a substitute god out of our sin) is silly and it never satisfies the hunger in our hearts.

The problem with our desire for God is that God is so big, so awesome, so powerful and so…uh…well…God, that it is insane to even have the desire. Best to focus on something else.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

We also have a problem with love and we can’t fix that either. We were not only created with a desire for God, we were created with a desire to love and be loved. Scripture admonishes us to love our neighbor as ourselves and the cry of Psalmist is often a cry for love.

Have you ever tried to get someone to love you, someone who doesn’t and probably never will? Better to forget it and try someone else. What if God is a monster or child abuser? What if God simply doesn’t care at all? What if God’s love is just a hope dreamed up by silly dreamers whose hope is bigger than the reality? Does God care? Does God love? And more importantly, does God love us? And then the question that is always quietly spoken because we are afraid of the answer: Does God love me?

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

There is another problem—the problem with meaning. We can’t fix that one either. That was Job’s problem. It wasn’t just the suffering (he was willing to go through that); it was God and the purpose of the suffering. And when he challenged God to answer his cry for meaning, God refused and reminded Job that he was God and Job wasn’t. Not very satisfying, if you ask me.

What is this thing all about? “Men must work, and women must weep, and the sooner it’s over, the sooner to sleep.” Is this all there is?

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

Of course, we’ve got a sin problem too. We can’t even begin to fix that. We identify both with Paul’s confession of sin and his cry, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).

I get that. Sometimes I’m so tired of me and my sin that I can hardly stand it. Who’s going to forgive me? I can’t forgive myself and the forgiveness of others isn’t nearly enough. David understood when he cried out, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4).

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

And don’t forget about the problem with death. The “grim reaper” is always there in the shadows. That can scare the spit out of you if you think about it too much. Death is a one-out-of-one proposition. Job’s question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14), is the question all of us have. The problem is that we can’t fix the fact of our death or even find answers to our questions about what’s on the other side of it. Nobody who has been there will talk about it and the silence makes death an even bigger problem, one we can’t fix.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

That’s what the incarnation is about—a boatload of problems that we can’t fix and a God who came “at the right time” to love us, forgive us and call us, and to tell us about Home. It is a celebration of our helplessness and God’s antidote.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:1, 14, 16).

Not only did God fix our problems, he fixed what we can’t fix long before we were ever born. In fact, he did it from before the very foundation of the world.

God looked into the future and saw me and knew my name. He knew yours too. He created us and saw how much we desired to know him, how much we wanted to be loved and how much we needed to be forgiven. He realized that life wasn’t for sissies and that there was so much darkness in our living and dying. He knew how helpless we would be.

And at that moment, in eternity, Jesus said goodbye to the angels, acknowledged his Father, packed his bags, and headed for Bethlehem to fix what we can’t.

Is that cool or what?

So celebrate, dance and enjoy…in God’s grace and love.

And for God’s sake and yours, quit trying to do it yourself.

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Steve is the Founder of Key Life Network, Inc. and Bible teacher on the national radio program Key Life.

Steve Brown's Full Bio
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