Don't "Assist" God
- Genesis 16:1 “Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
- 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”
When I stepped out by faith in evangelism in January 2002, I had no job or any other earthly way to accomplish God’s plan for me. I believed God and surrendered all to him. As God always does, He provided. By the end of our first year in evangelism, we held over 70 meetings! But my wife and I were tempted to “assist” God in my calling. You see, we had meetings but not much in the way of finances or earthly possessions. God knows that the trying of our faith is extremely important (Jms. 1:3; I Pt. 1:7). God’s children, though, prefer the easy life. During our second year in evangelism, we were offered a part-time job at a Christian school for $100 a week (A lot to us!) which we accepted. God couldn’t bless our man-made attempts at fulfilling His plan and His promise (I Thess. 5:24). (Many today would argue that statement, but that is one more reason why we are in the mess we are in today!) Before my present illness, that year, 2003, was the lowest year of meetings we ever had in evangelism. At the same time, we were advised to invest in a trailer for our meetings. To pull that trailer, we needed a truck. To get that truck and trailer, we would need a loan. I had (still have) scriptural reasons against getting into debt. Amy, at that time saw nothing wrong with debt and actually many reasons why debt was a necessity. I relented. After only one week, we lost the truck and trailer in a terrible accident. Insurance wiggled its way out of taking care of costs, and we were strapped with thousands in debt and no transportation or home. 2003 was an eye-opener in what man’s attempts at “assisting” God will get you!
Abram and Sarai had no children, and they were beyond the age to have children. Despite this, God promised Abram, “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand” (Gen. 22:17). However, God’s promise was not fulfilled immediately. So Abram and Sarai took matters into their own hands and tried “helping” God out. Abram married Sarai’s handmaid Hagar and produced Ishmael from the union. Ishmael was not God’s doing. Ishmael was not God’s promise. Ishmael was man’s effort. Ishmael is still a thorn in Israel’s side. Our best efforts don’t “help” God, they hurt the plan of God. Actually, Abram had tried another man-made attempt at “assisting” God in the previous chapter (Gen. 15:2) by offering God the steward of his house, Eliezer of Damascus, as a way to fulfill God’s promise. God had rejected that offer also.
Despite how easy the concept of faith and grace may be, we struggle to actually practice them. Man knows work, labor, blood, sweat, and tears. “Stepping out by faith” and “living by faith” appear as “a fool’s errand” or “tempting God”. What we don’t realize is that faith and grace are eternally better than anything we can do. Our best efforts pale in comparison to God’s workings, and in fact, like Hagar and Ishmael of old, make matters worse. If God commands you to obey Him, based upon specific, clear Bible passages, then you are required to step out in faith on His Word and obey. You do not add, take away, or diminish from God’s Word (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19). If God commands “chastening” as the answer to your child’s flesh, don’t “assist” God by adding man-made “grounding” because spankings don’t seem to work. If your spouse doesn’t seem to care and/or appreciate you or your views, don’t “help” God by pushing and shoving your spouse into submission. Don’t “assist” God and water down the gospel to get more people saved. Don’t “help” God by lowering your standards to please your church or your family. “God is not a man, that he should lie” (Num. 23:19). God’s promises will come to pass. God will take care of you (Phil. 4:19). God still saves souls. God will answer prayer (Jer. 33:3). God is still building His church (Mt. 16:18). But you must stop trying to “help” God do what only God alone can do. Your deceitful, lying heart (Jer. 17:9) will find all kinds of ways to add to God’s will for your life, but only a fool trusts his heart (Pro. 28:26). Christians of today have more than we could ever ask for, yet we are doing less than we ever have. Why? One reason: in unbelief, we keep rejecting God’s all-powerful grace, and looking to man-made inventions to get the job done. We are failing. Man-made Ishmaels surround us and remind us of our feeble attempts. Let’s stop “assisting” God and get back to God Himself providing the Isaacs we need!
Added note: Most of what I just said is completely foreign to the average person, including Christians. And yet, it is so true. Christianity today is constantly adding to God’s work. As one person wrongly told us, “I believe God does the inner working, we do the outward working.” No, no, no, my friend. Christ is “all in all.” Christ is everything which of necessity requires both the inner and the outer working. Christ gives the words to say. Christ leads to the soul who needs to be saved. Christ gives the health to do His work. Christ gives the wisdom, the love, the patience, the power, the everything!
- Phil. 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will” (inner working) “and to do” (outward working) “of his good pleasure.”
For decades, Christians have added to God’s Word and “assisted” God. Oh, how I long for the day when they said “Let go and let God!” God doesn’t need one iota of you or me. God rejects pride. God only gives his miraculous, all-powerful grace to those who are humble (I Pt. 5:5). Yes, God’s ways don’t always make sense to our feeble minds, but don’t ever try to “assist” God. It only makes it worse.