A Do-It-Yourself Guide?

Man proposes, God disposes.  (Or, as the old Yiddish proverb says, Man plans, God laughs.)

This is a translation from a passage in “The Imitation of Christ” by the German-born, Thomas à Kempis (c.1380-1471): For the resolutions of the just depend rather on the grace of God than on their own wisdom; and in Him they always put their trust, whatever they take in hand.  For man proposes, but God disposes; neither is the way of man in his own hands.  This may be a reflection of a verse in the Bible (Proverbs 16:9): We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.  Shakespeare, too, had a similar message in Hamlet by Hamlet: There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.



Human beings can make any plans they want, but it’s God who decides success or failure.  Can you imagine what would have happened if Moses had tried to explain the burning bush that couldn’t be extinguished?  Or how about him leading the Hebrews through the Red Sea on his own?  On dry land?!?  What would Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have done on their own in the super-heated furnace?  Could the young Jewish girl, Esther, have been able to save the Jewish people from the savage attacks that were already planned on her own?  What could Jonah have done about being swallowed by a great fish?  Could Elijah have made a fiery chariot to take him up to the Heavens?  Could the Hebrew soldiers marching around Jericho have torn the walls of the city down by themselves without being killed by its inhabitants?  Does it make any human sense that a young teenager named David could win the battle with an enemy giant–armed with only a slingshot?  None of this makes any sense in the natural.

The Word for You Today notes that Allied bomber carried thirteen.50 caliber machine guns.  Scientists suggested the planes might be safer without them since they could fly higher and faster, increasing their odds of survival.  The pilots wouldn’t hear of it.  They wanted to be able to fight back on their own.  Too often we make the same mistake when it comes to fighting our daily battles.  We don’t need bigger guns, we need more of God.  We want to reason, argue, blame, excuse and manipulate.  Instead we need to take up the shield of faith and arm ourselves with the weapons of God (Ephesians 6:16).  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)  So stop trying to do it yourself and let God be a shield to those who take refuge in Him,(Proverbs 30:5) for though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does (2 Colossians 10:3).  If you think that you can do it yourself, don’t!  It rarely works to your benefit.

2 thoughts on “A Do-It-Yourself Guide?

  1. Doing anything in our own power never works to our own benefit. “Without Him we can do nothing.” John 15.
    If however we are in the place of trusting our plans and projects to Him, then even failures are only successes in disguise.


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