by Rob Tims
You don’t have to be a professional home inspector to identify the handful of do-it-yourself projects currently ongoing in my home. There’s an 18-inch square-shaped patch of dry wall mud in the ceiling of my den that needs sanding, priming, and painting. I had the pleasure of starting that project when the tub drain in the master bath leaked. In the upstairs hallway bath, you’ll find a 6-inch rectangular patch of dry wall mud on the wall where I inadvertently created a large hole with a drill trying to install towel hooks. And I just a got phone call from my wife that the toilet in the half bath downstairs is leaking, so the water is turned off and the door is shut until I can repair it this evening. I can only imagine what the laminate wood floor looks like now.
I don’t mean to give you the impression I’m a gifted do-it-yourselfer. My skills are sub-par at best. Replace a toilet? Sure. Paint a room? No problem. Electrical? I have my doubts. Light bulbs have been a challenge, much less light fixtures. I vacillate between doubt and pride: doubt that I can learn a new skill and do a good job, or pride in my skill set to do what needs to be done without assistance.
Do you have a similar mindset with regard to spiritual tasks? When you sense God would have you do something for Him, do you typically try and accomplish it using your own resources? I have found that when God calls a proud do-it-yourselfer to accomplish a task, two things plague him: doubt (not trusting that God can provide), and pride (believing that he or she can accomplish it alone).
In Luke 9, Jesus sent his disciples out to minister with “power and authority over all the demons, and the power to heal diseases” (v. 1). They had a tremendous experience and returned with stories for Jesus (v. 10). Yet no sooner did they celebrate these miracles than did they doubt Jesus’ ability to feed more than 5,000 people following them around (vv. 10-17).
The disciples’ doubt soon gave way to pride. In verses 18-27, Jesus helped His disciples see His true identity as the Son of God. Peter confessed his belief that Jesus was the Messiah. It was a true declaration made by faith, but Peter proudly believed Jesus’ kingdom would be a political and militaristic one. How interesting we swing from doubt to pride!
Jesus corrected Peter by telling of His upcoming death and resurrection, and warning the disciples that following Him meant personal suffering and sacrifice. In so doing, Jesus defined what it meant to be His disciple: rejection of self-centered living and total commitment to Him. We are to place God and His kingdom’s priorities first in our lives. Simply put, we must rid ourselves of pride and humbly embrace His abilities in place of our own.
As a spiritual do-it-yourselfer, I vacillate between doubt and pride. I question God’s ability to do the supernatural even though He raised Jesus from the dead, and I proudly conclude that I can do whatever He wants me to do. But the gospel requires that I trust God’s power and His methods over my own. Isaiah 55:8-9 states, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways … For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Therefore, I can rest in faith rather than swing wildly between doubt and faith.
I’m home now. The flooring in our half bath sustained only minor damage, and the leak is covered by our home warranty. The professionals are coming Thursday to replace the wax seal and put an end to the slow and steady leak of water and sewer gas. Having installed all three toilets in this home on my own, I do not doubt the skill of a professional, nor am I so prideful to think I could do a better job.
I’m resting confidently in faith.
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.