Why You Cannot DIY!

I enjoy watching Do It Yourself (“DIY) videos on YouTube. From an amateur watch maker who restores old mechanical watches, to a farmer in Ohio who is building his backyard pond, the ability to transform and create something of value is impressive. Many of us have experienced the sense of satisfaction that comes along with building something by hand. Perhaps the task is woodworking, metalsmithing, creating a piece of art, writing something with enduring quality, and even gardening. The feeling that we can derive from a job well done is hard to describe but one knows the feeling. People use the word “satisfying” to describe that sensation of accomplishment that comes from completing a task. It is good to use the skills we have been given by God, but not good to believe that we are independent of God’s grace in our lives.

I have a work-colleague who has mentioned a prior life near the beach in Costa Rica. He would fish for the family dinner, pick fruit from a tree for breakfast, and in general live a self-sufficient lifestyle. He makes it sound wonderful and free of the usual stress and hassle that everyday life typically includes. The positives of such a life seem to outweigh the possibility of negatives but they do exist. Perhaps you will wake up ill one day and be unable to fend for yourself. One would quickly come to understand they are not quite so self-sufficient.

In Proverbs 3, and in verses 5-8, we are directed to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”

This is antithetical to the DIY philosophy, but to us as true Christians, it is essential that our toolbox be grounded in our faith, obedience, and trust in the Father. It is also true that God wants those He calls to be productive and use the talents and abilities He gives them. This is not a DIY contradiction because we must remember that despite all that we do and may be proficient at, we must rely on God for blessings and deliverance from the challenges we face.

Isaiah 41 outlines the many things that God does and will do for His people. It is a catalogue of His power and majesty and encapsulated in verse 13: “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” Is this not what we all require—God to take our hand and guide us through the difficulties? As we apply our skills and energies to a problem, we must understand that we must rely on Him. The part that many of us struggle with is that if it is not God’s Will to grant a desire, or an outcome He favors, it will not happen, regardless of our skill. As He did with Moses in the Wilderness, God made the impossible occur. He brought forth living water from stone. Later in Isaiah 41,we see His powers clearly, as stated in verses 18 through 20:

“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

As humans, we are not capable of miraculous achievement, regardless of our skill. Even musical and technical prodigies must develop and are flawed. Only God is defined by perfection. He has, however, given us a glimpse of His magnificence through His creation of all of us and the universe around us.In 1 Peter 5, and in verses 6 and 7, we are admonished as follows: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

True Christians must understand this and ensure that they do not fall back on the carnal expectation to rely on oneself, or one’s family, friends, or colleagues for salvation. All good things flow only from God. This includes all blessings, skills, sustenance, and even the challenges we face. In Philippians 4, and in verse 6, we understand that we are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

In our society today, we are accustomed to receiving immediate updates for packages we are expecting. We have similar expectations for resolutions in our lives. Problems we face, health issues, and challenges involving work, are just a handful of matters we deal with in which our expertise may have little impact on the outcome. Yet, our human existence has trained us to believe that we can fix the situation. We also see the reliance that so many people in the world place on governmental leaders to deliver peace, prosperity, and well-being. Political parties and activists promote their ability to provide the answer. As true Christians, we know that this is not accurate, nor is it possible.

As we conclude, let us consider Christ’s words in John 15:4-5: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” This is what it boils down to: We can do nothing without God’s intervention and influence in our lives. When He calls us, we have a choice to make, and as the builder counts the cost of the project, true Christians must understand the full benefit that comes with trusting and relying on God.

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