We live in a “Do It Yourself” era where there is information available to help you do many projects yourself without hiring a professional. You can go to Home Depot for help or you can go online and find a YouTube video on nearly any topic, from how to tile your bathroom or put down laminate flooring to how to tune up the engine on your lawn mower or fix a clogged drain. All you need to do is buy any materials and tools required to do the job. And, just think of all the money you will be saving!
With all the training available on the internet, we may be tempted to think we can accomplish anything by ourselves, but that idea can be misleading and dangerous when applied to spiritual matters. Religious beliefs that emphasize self-help and self-effort do not depend upon God. Christianity, on the other hand, is a faith that relies solely upon God. God alone can save us and God alone can empower us to live the Christian life. God doesn’t want us to try to put anything together, for He has put it all together and offers it free for the asking. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him the glory forever” (Ro. 11:36). “Not that we are adequate in ourselves, to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (II Cor. 3:5).
And that begins with salvation. Scripture makes it very clear that salvation is a gift from God and is not something that we deserve or can earn. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Ro. 3:20). “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus…” (Gal. 2:16). “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit. 3:5-7).
God is the One responsible for our salvation. From the moment we trust in Jesus Christ until our life on earth is done, He is the One who “keeps us saved.” Paul wrote: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (when He returns for us) (Phil. 1:6). The Apostle Peter, in writing about our hope and inheritance in heaven, says we are “protected by the power of God” (I Pet. 1:3-5). Jesus said that “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” and “of all that He has given Me I lose nothing…that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:37-40).
So, if regarding your salvation and eternal life you are trying to “Do It Yourself,” stop it!! It won’t work. All the work has been done by God through sending His Son as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:21). “He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). If you have never done so, put your full trust in Christ and what He has done for you.
But, it doesn’t end there, for the Christian life is not difficult, it is impossible! Only Christ can live it! We still can’t “Do It Ourselves.” “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (II Cor. 3:5). Jesus used the illustration of a vine and branches to convey that truth. He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears (not produces, but supports) much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:4,5). Paul, who understood that, wrote: “I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13), and “And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:29). “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
So, if you are trying to make it to heaven by your own merit or efforts, you will never make it. Put your trust in the One who did all the work on your behalf. Or, if you are trying to live the Christian life on your own, good luck! None of us can do it, no matter how long we have been a Christian. Only Christ in us, through the Holy Spirit, can. So, let Him. Depend upon Him. Otherwise it is “Striving in the flesh, striving in the flesh, here I come defeated, striving in the flesh!”
When it comes to spiritual matters, don’t “Do It Yourself!” Say, “God I can’t, You can, Please do!” But, remember, you are the instrument through which He works. Just be available and let Him use you for His glory.