Published August 29, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Put It Into God's Hands"

"I've got this!" "I can handle this!" "I can do it on my own, thank you!" "No, I don't need your help!"

Sound familiar?

All too often, our first inclination is to take matters into our own hands. We want to be self-sufficient. We feel we don't need or want any help. There's a sense of pride in being able to accomplish something completely on your own.

But that attitude is uncomfortably similar to what happened in the Garden of Eden, when Satan's successful line of persuasion was that Eve and Adam could be self-sufficient, like God. They pridefully thought they could do things on their own without God's assistance. And, of course, pride is the sin that got Satan booted out of heaven in the first place.

September's #1 song, as you heard on our countdown edition last weekend, is the Browders' song "Put It Into God's Hands." It's a wonderfully concise reminder of the resource God makes available to us – a resource that we, in our ignorance or, even worse, our pride, all too often ignore.

    "This life doesn't come easy when you try by yourself;
     The load gets too heavy, but at the throne you'll find help.
     God's more than able, we can't – but He can.
     Each need He will handle, just put it into God's hands."

One of the best-known advertising slogans in America, according to a 2000 study by Northwestern University, is this: "You're in good hands with Allstate." That insurance company has been using the slogan since the 1950s. And the slogan uses the "hands" metaphor to illustrate how we can trust someone to take care of something for us. Putting something "into God's hands" is the ultimate expression of trust — specifically, trust in God.

    "A call came from the doctor to deliver bad news.
     Now you're so troubled, you feel you're gonna lose.
     There is a Healer, the best known to man.
     His practice is perfect; just put it into God's hands."

Self-sufficiency is an illusion – and a sinful one, at that. It's sinful because it leaves God out of the equation. It says we really don't need God to get things done, or even to survive. But remember Jesus' parable about the rich man who farmed so successfully that he wanted to build bigger barns to store it all – planning, then, to take it easy, resting on his success. He was "quite full of himself." "Look what I've done!" God – whom the man had forgotten – wasn't pleased and told him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you" (Luke 12:20).  There was nothing he could do about it.  He found he really wasn't in control. 

A lot of people believe this saying – "God helps those who help themselves" – is from the Bible. In fact, some cite it as their favorite verse. But it isn't in the Bible. (It's probably from Aesop.) In fact, it contradicts biblical teaching where we are told to "humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God ... casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7). Not only does God not mind our asking Him for things, Scripture constantly reminds us that God wants us to do just that. And if we ask in accordance with His will, He promises to answer. As well-known pastor Rick Warren once said, "God doesn't help those who help themselves. He helps those who turn to Him."3

As Christians, we must remember that, as Paul tells us, it is in Christ that "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We are not "self-sufficient." We rely totally on the Lord, even for our very life, our very existence.

Why is turning to God for help so often a "last resort," turning to Him only after our own efforts utterly fail? Why do we wait until "we have no other choice?" Why don't we turn to Him first? Why don't we seek Him first? Jesus said, " first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [whatever we truly need] shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33).

As the chorus of the song says,

    "Put it into God's hands. He knows what to do.
     He's never too busy to care for you.
     Put it into God's hands, you won't be denied.
     Tears fill your eyes, it's time to decide,
     Put it into God's hands."

The hands that created the universe, the hands that were pierced at Calvary to provide our salvation, the hands you felt surrounding and comforting you that time when you found yourself in an "impossible" situation, are the hands that will help you again...and again...and again — if, in faith, you just ask.

- Paul
1. 2nd verse, "Put It Into God's Hands," by Matthew Browder, Browder House Music BMI
2. 1st verse, ibid.
3. Twitter remark, @RickWarren, April 16, 2013.
4. Chorus from "Put It Into God's Hands."

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