I can do it myself!
As I write those words, I can hear my 3-year-old's voice:
“I can do it myself, Mama!” He says that a lot these days as he grows
more independent. I remember one time when he said it, then climbed onto the
toilet… and slid down inside. He was too little to see that the seat was left
How often do we think I can do it myself! and continue toiling away in our self-led kingdom, unable to be Spirit-led and see what God is really asking of us; our eyes fixed
upon our own plans and desires instead of His.
It isn’t until we fall into the proverbial toilet that we realize… oh…um, I guess my way isn’t working.
The fact is, we can’t do it ourselves.
God knows this.
He would never leave us alone to figure out how to do this life on our own.
He gives us His spirit to lead and guide us; He gives us His Word to teach us.
Praise the Lord!
Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time there was a girl; stubborn, independent, rebellious, and on a quest for “the truth.” She searched high and low for an answer to her question:
Why do I need a savior? I’m a decent human; basically, a good person.
After investigating many different religions, she challenged the God of the Bible: “Alright, God. I’m going to read the Bible like a historical book. If you want to teach me something, so be it. But I’m not expecting any real answers here.”
As she read the familiar stories of Genesis, nothing leapt off the pages.
Then she came to Exodus.
If you open your Bible to Exodus 3:7 and read...
…then keep reading…
…and keep reading…
then through the book of Exodus, you’ll see the weary Israelites. All they have known is a life of slavery and oppression with no hope of deliverance.
If you keep reading Exodus, you will see what God does for His people in Exodus 6.
Our loving God makes a daring rescue, snatching the Israelites from Pharaoh's hand.
He phenomenally parts the Red Sea.
He provides water in the desert and the exact amount of food for them to eat.
He leads them to the promised land flowing with milk and honey, defeating their enemies along the way.
And guess what the Israelites do?
They whine, complain, and stubbornly test God in their hearts, rebelling in unbelief and distrust.
Time and time again, He keeps His covenant, provides for them, and shows His love.
Time and time again, the Israelites try to turn back, painting pictures of Egypt as a better place to be. They did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power (Psalm 78:22).
Remember that girl who’s reading the Bible?
Yep, that’s me.
And when I read about the Israelites- their stubborn and rebellious nature- I see myself.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, I see myself inside their fall. I’m the stubbornest of them all.
THAT is why I need a Savior.
Because no matter how decent I may seem, I will always have a natural bent that leads me away from Christ.
To be self-led instead of Spirit-led.
I am no better than the Israelites.
Ok, I will. But first…
When I finally understood the need for Christ my Savior (eternal salvation/first kind of rest), I needed to step aside and let Him lead and teach me. To be my Master and Teacher.
Easier said than done.
So often we think Ok, I’ll follow Him and let Him lead, but first…
Ah, the “But-First” syndrome. Twin to the “Me-First” mentality.
Luke 9:57-62 gives the account of three people with the but-first syndrome. They wanted to follow Jesus but had things they wanted to do first. Jesus responds in verse 62, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
He is all about building his heavenly Father’s kingdom and teaching us to be fit for that service. He is kingdom-minded.
He knows we cannot babysit our own little kingdom and plow the ground for the harvest at the same time.
Let’s get to work for Him.
Jesus, take the wheel
Did you know God’s care for you goes far beyond what you could ever understand? We are never alone!
If we are completing God’s kingdom work, He will give us everything we need to work and rest at the same time; everything we need to be restful runners. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19).
When we let Jesus direct our lives, He not only equips us, He showers us with His blessings and love:
He gives us His word, so we know what to do
He promises that He will hear our prayers
He sustains us with His presence; give us the Holy Spirit to convict us when we sin
He gives us our spouse so we can learn the way He does relationship; to sharpen one another, spur one another on in love
He gives us fun times of rest & recreation
He does not leave us alone to try and do His will and build His kingdom. That is a promise.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. This is referenced many times in both the Old and New Testaments.
Find rest and hope in that promise.
Let HIM do the work, you just keep in step with the Spirit.
Vow to change: an encouraging call to action
First, you must know that God has a kingdom purpose for you and your marriage. (To learn more, click HERE.) There are things you and your spouse can do together that one alone could not accomplish. Ask God: Today, what can I do in my spouse’s life that would last into eternity? It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be Spirit-led. Ask God to show you. Look for simple opportunities to serve your spouse, because when we love our spouse, we are building God’s kingdom, not ours.
Pray to be Spirit-led, not self-led. Galatians 5:16-25 paints a wonderful picture of what being led by the Spirit looks like.
We cannot do it on our own, and we don’t have to. We must go to He who is able, who provides everything we need.
He will not leave us to do His work alone.
Make The Great Exchange and see what adventures He has in store for a life that is Spirit-led instead of self-led.
Are you hesitant? Be honest with yourself. If you are, bring your doubts to the Lord. Perhaps it is a matter of getting to know Him better.
Find help and encouragement for deepening your relationship with God in the next post: