READ: Psalm 100, Jonah 2, John 4, Galatians 6
We idolize ourselves. When we think we are “self-made,” we have in effect created an idol of ourselves. Of all idolatry self-worship is the most foolish, for in so doing we “forsake our own Mercy” (Jonah 2:8). In other words, we forsake the mercy of God when we self-glorify. The Bible is very clear that “it is He who has made us and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3), and yet we retain large dollops of pride in being self-made men and women.
God makes men. Paul reminds us “if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:3). We must come to terms with being nothing and understand that all we have enjoyed in life and in ministry is because God has allowed and empowered it. Because we are naturally goal oriented and love to measure outcomes, any good things that happen in ministry are at least in part attributed to human effort. Jesus reminds us that He has sent us to “reap that for which we have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors” (John 4:38). Literally Jesus is saying, “Others have done the hard work.” Not only has God made us (i.e. made us fruitful), so have others; we benefit from the sweat and sacrifice of those who have gone before us.
Men unmake themselves. As God deserves all the credit for making (establishing) man, man deserves all the blame when we unmake what God has done. It is as inevitable as it is unfortunate that you and I are overtaken by our own trespasses (Gal. 6:1). We often interpret this verse as referring to grand moral failure (sexual or financial sin), but in reality it also includes pride, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, envy, and the like (5:19-20), a multitude of less obvious ugliness. We all unmake ourselves and this is why restoration by “the spiritual” (6:1) should be done so gently. It is just a matter of time before we unmake ourselves and will need a kind and understanding hand to help us up.
God makes solutions. God makes men; men makes messes; and God makes solutions. “The Lord prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17). This fish was not prepared in a day. Years, possibly decades before Jonah needed help, God picked a little fish egg and sovereignly preserved it day by day, growing it into monstrous size for specific deliverance. God in His foreknowledge has seen our future failings and has already planned our deliverance. We need not fret over our destiny or our deliverance, for God has prepared them both.