In the past several years there has been a wave of new businesses that market their products based on the idea of doing it yourself. Some of the leading “DIY” businesses are based on assembling your own meals, your own pottery, your own teddy bears, your own backyard decks, brewing your own coffee or producing your own wine freshly fermented from your own grapes grown in your own vineyard.
The DIY phenomena offer customers many options, customizations, and elements of the personal touch. DIY also gives customers the satisfaction of simply knowing that they “did it themselves.” Americans have embraced the idea of DIY. We are becoming more and more “self made”.
Though this DIY mentality drives the entrepreneurial spirit, it has devastating effect of followers of Jesus. DIY mentality has found a firm foothold in the church. You will see “DIY” lived out in many American churches and being preached over many American pulpits. Though these churches would agree that apart from God’s grace, we could never be saved, the DIY mode of operation begins once a person is saved.
Coming into the Kingdom requires justification, the forgiveness of our sin and most would agree we cannot be justified in a DIY fashion. Only God can save us by the shed blood of His son. But once we begin to follow Jesus and seek to be more like Him, the process called sanctification can begin to click into the DIY format. I will enter the Kingdom of God by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) but my walk with Jesus, my ongoing freedom from sin and my growth in becoming more like Him is much more self-driven. It is really up to me.
I am called to love like Jesus loves……OK, let me get to work on that for I’m certain I can get this one done myself. I am struggling with sin issues that have become addictive…..alright, let me begin to exert effort to relieve myself of that problem and take the steps necessary to bring me into freedom. I am instructed to be generous with my money, sacrificial to my spouse, compassionate to my neighbor, loving to my enemy….no problem, I can DIY that one. Yet in reality, the harder we try in our own strength to be loving, sinless, generous, sacrificial, etc., the more exhausted we become.
The reason for this is that the Christian life was never meant to be a DIY project. We’re not building a new deck on our house. We’re becoming like Jesus. Paul says in Galatians 5:25 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” The way in is the way on. We were saved, justified, forgiven by grace, all of it coming as a gift from God. Now, we must continue to live life into maturity with the view of God’s unconditional love, His immense and miraculous favor, His power working within us and the new heart he has give us that compels us to submit to His will. It is God who is bringing us to maturity. God has blessed us with every blessing in the heaven. God has already made provision for everything we need in this life and the one to come. We are loved, forgiven, saved, in Union with Christ, accepted, holy, righteous, dead to sin, new in our spirit and therefore royal. How did that happen? God held it all out to us as a gift and we said, “Thank you.”
If you want a DIY religion, try Islam, Jehovah’s Witness, and Mormonism. But if you’re going to follow Jesus, you must recognize and then rest in the finished work of the cross. Don’t misunderstand. As we walk with God with a cooperative, humble and submitted attitude, it is best for us. But even if your attitudes grow sour, God’s love for us never changes, His presence within our hearts is not diminished and His intention of conforming us into the image of His son never weakens. Thank God the Christian life is not DIY.