Building Your Own Thing

You remember Paul's comment about righteousness and how it was exclusive, don't you? Like either/or (see Philippians 3:9). The Pharisees were going about establishing their own righteousness, and thereby were failing to submit themselves to the righteousness of God, the very righteousness God was offering them. That would never do. In a way, the thought I am trying to cover here is like that, only different. What I am wanting to discuss has more to do with what we are “building,” as in an outcome, or result, of our lives. It's a similar trap to the Pharisees, a similar deceit.

It has to do with building your own thing and thereby failing to become a part of what God is building. This is kind of widespread in my view. It's not a few or a small percentage. Sadly, it's just not.

Now there is something we need to realize about the nature of decisions. Plain and simple,  what we decide to do is at the expense of all the other options. Right? We are occupied and not free once we have chosen. This is why we must choose wisely. It's a different story, but suffice it also to say, not to decide is to decide not to…. but that's for a different time. Now, back to our line of thought.

This self-determination is so very dangerous. Why? Because it is invisible, and we can deceive our own selves into believing that, even in the middle of following our self-authorized lives, we are in fact collaborating with God, working hand in hand with Him. We can be doing it all in the name of Jesus, thinking we are building inside His will and plan. SO dangerous. 

How can we be shaken from this deceit?

How can we escape the fog?

How can we turn from such things?

So many things we are doing can take on a life of their own, as in, they–in themselves–are the reason and purpose. They assign their own meaning.

“Art for Art’s Sake” is the slogan of a movie production company. You may have seen it written in the latin words they use to make it sound fancy, but that's what I am talking about here.

A quick moment for a touch of depth, shall we? What is transcendent? What has meaning of its own that is independent of any other thing at all? God. All other things that are not God exist because of Him and for His good pleasure. Of course we all believe this; we just don't live that way.

Often, we want something to show for our lives. Can we really afford to trust that God will lead us into significance and meaning, and not somehow minimize our life and existence, hiding us where we can never be found? Isn't complete obedience about being invisible anyway? No, it really isn't about that. BUT, it's also not about your rock-star, super-power status, either.

Am I building my own thing? (Can you ask yourself that right now?)

Am I hoping to prove myself and my outcomes as independently legitimate? (Yes, please, once again…)

If so, how do I stop doing that and choose wisely what God is building?

Make no mistake, God is humbling Himself to work in and through us. He even humbles Himself to move through and bless others in the things we are building for ourselves. I realize that doesn't seem right. I think it's called Love. 

Who is this God we serve? There is no one like Him–none so kind and none so good. This can lend itself to our self-deception, though, especially if we mistake God's goodness demonstrated through what we are doing to be His personal endorsement of us and our work. We have to be so careful not to do this, and the way we avoid it is to humble ourselves.

Early on in my walk with the Lord, I remember people in ministry using this type of conversation to threaten and expose fear in others. Though I couldn't see it at the time, they were using this to undermine confidence and weaken people into submitting to them because they were insecure (and, yet, highly gifted). That is not my purpose here.

Have you heard of the idea of sunk costs? Like, “We have spent so much time and money going in this direction that we cannot stop now. Look how much we have invested!” Savvy business consultants will tell you if it's producing the wrong outcomes, the only way to keep from mounding up further losses is to ignore the sunk costs and “take the hit.”

Repentance is a change of course. If that's what's needed, nothing else will do. God is gracious and most change is gradual. If you find yourself with a big investment in a course of action you would no longer take if you were starting over, find a way to graciously bow out of the continued pursuit! At least to start steering away from it by degrees. If the future that is materializing is not the one where God gets the glory, look for a different future by changing course!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.