“You Can Fix This Yourself”
Series: Flip the Script – Part 2
The Lies We Believe and the Truth that Sets Us Free
I was watching a popular TV preacher as I was eating breakfast one morning recently, and he was preaching on this idea that God has come so that we could experience an abundant life. It’s a beautiful truth. He used one of my favorite verses in John 10:10. It reads like this: Jesus says, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Abundant life! That’s why Jesus has come. That’s good truth. I mean, that’s what you want to think about as you start your day. You want to grab a hold of that with both hands. You want to claim that: That Jesus has come that we could live this full and abundant life. And yet that’s not the whole verse. Oh, this is all that was up on the screen, but you’ll notice that there are three dots—right?—before this quote. Anybody remember from grammar class what the word is for three dots? Yeah, ellipsis. Good job. So, whenever you see an ellipsis, that means that there are certain words or a number of words that have been left out that should not affect, necessarily, the meaning of what you’re reading. And so, he had these ellipses followed by this great promise of Jesus. But there are some pretty significant words that are omitted from this verse, from this thought sentence. Here’s what he left out: That “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Well, I get it, right? I mean, that’s not quite as “feel good.” We don’t necessarily love to think about the fact that we have an enemy and the enemy’s goal and purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. But look, if all we do is teach and talk about this truth that Jesus has come that we can have abundant life but we don’t put it in the context of spiritual warfare, if we don’t understand the reality that there’s an enemy who wants to steal the abundant life, who wants to kill the abundant life and destroy the abundant life; if we don’t understand the full truth, then we’re going to be in a lot of trouble. We’re going to be on dangerous ground, because we’re going to be living like, “Hey, it’s vacation all the time,” when in reality there is a battle that’s being waged. There is a war that’s going on.
So, the truth is that Jesus has come so we could experience abundant life, and the enemy would like you to just kind of claim that and leave out the rest. He would much prefer to just be replaced by three little dots, to not be aware of his schemes, and not be aware that he is waging war against you and your family. But we have an enemy who has come to steal, to kill and to destroy.
And so in this series that we’re calling “Flip the Script,” what we’re doing is we are identifying Satan’s primary weapon: That he is a liar. Everything he says is a lie. John tells us that lying is his native tongue. It’s his language. Everything he says, everything that comes out of his mouth is deception. He twists the truth. He is a master manipulator.
And so, what we want to do in this series is we want to identify some of his lies that many of us have believed. Maybe we’ve believed them because it was something we were taught early on and we’ve just accepted. Maybe we’ve believed them because a lot of other people believe them, and we don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t believe them. But these lies that we believe we live by; and when we live by a lie, we give it the power of truth in our lives. And so the enemy is always handing us a script. Every day. Every day he hands you a script to read, and in the script he hands you, it’s just full of lies about you, about your identity, about God, how He loves you, how He feels about you. Just full of lies. But if we believe the lies and we live by the lies, it has the power of truth.
Here’s how we said it last week: When we believe a lie, we live by a lie, necessarily. When we live by a lie, we give it the power of truth in our lives. And kind of the silly, insignificant example we used was that when we eat carrots… A lot of us have eaten carrots over the years believing the lie that carrots will give you good eyesight. It’s not true. It doesn’t… They don’t improve your vision. But because we believe it’s true—many of us—we have eaten carrots. We’ve made sure our kids eat carrots. And so, in believing that it’s true, we’ve given it the power of truth. That is to say, we live by it. We eat it.
And so, what are some more significant ways that this dynamic is at play? Where the enemy tells us these lies and it has significant implications on our lives. So maybe you believe the lie that God doesn’t care about you. And because you don’t think He really cares about you, you have allowed your heart to become hard towards Him and you’ve become bitter. You’ve become angry towards God—maybe during a time when you’ve really needed Him.
Or maybe you’ve believed the lie that you could never change, because the enemy is going to tell you that lie all day long: “You can’t change. It’s too late for you. Too much of a mess. It’s always going to be this way.” And if you believe that lie, then you’re not going to try to change. In fact, you’ll probably go deeper into your addiction or deeper into your sin, and things are only going to get worse.
Or maybe you’ve believed the lie, “God just wants you to be happy.” Maybe that’s the lie you’ve believed. And because you believe it (That that’s really all that matters. “As long as you’re happy, God’s okay.”), then maybe you haven’t fought for some things you needed to fight for. Maybe you haven’t struggled through some things that you needed to struggle through, because it didn’t make you happy.
Or maybe you’ve believed the lie that money would make you happy, and so you’ve just sacrificed a tremendous amount in hopes that a little bit more money would make you happier.
Or maybe you’ve believed the lie that you’ll never be good enough, and that, you know, your mistakes can never really be forgiven and redeemed. And, as a result, you’ve lived with guilt. You know, every day the enemy tells you, “You’ve blown it. It’s too late for you. You can’t be forgiven. Not after what you’ve done.” And you keep reading from that script, and you just live with the weight of guilt. Guilt always surfaces in anger: anger towards yourself and then it just spills out onto your relationships. And so, when we believe a lie, it has tremendous implications on our lives. And so, in this series we want to expose the lie of the enemy, and we want to embrace the truth that will set us free.
And so last week we talked about a lie that goes like this: “You don’t have what it takes. You don’t have what it takes. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re not capable enough. You don’t have what it takes.” And last week we were set free by the truth of Jesus from Philippians 4: That in Him we have what it takes. So that when the enemy comes and says, “You don’t have what it takes,” we say, “Yeah, you’re right, but I know who does. And the One who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world.” That in Christ we are more than conquerors. We are set free by the truth.
This weekend we’re talking about a different lie, but it’s kind of the opposite side of the same coin. These things go together. And the lie that we’re talking about this week is, “You can fix it yourself. You can fix it yourself.”
And the enemy would love for you to believe this. It’s the lie of pride. It refuses to ask for help when we need it. It’s desperate to hide mistakes when the only hope for healing and recovery is revealing them. It’s the lie that causes us to not admit fault or not admit that we are incapable. It’s the lie that causes us to insist, “I can do this myself.” And so, while last week, “You don’t have what it takes,” is kind of the lie of insecurity; this week, “You can fix it yourself” is the lie of pride. Now again, pride and insecurity go together. These things are not mutually exclusive. They go together. Oftentimes you’ll see the enemy use one lie with one person and the other lie with another person. But he knows if he can get us to buy into this “You can fix it yourself lie,” that God will suddenly not be necessary.
Those of us who struggle with this, when we say, “I can fix it myself”…or maybe you say, “You can fix it yourself”…this “it” here in the sentence is not necessarily referring to an inanimate object, right? Like, this is a person for you. “You can fix it yourself.” Like, you’re sitting next to it right now. Don’t look at it, but you’re sitting next to it.
Or some of you are going to go home to “it.” “It” is waiting for you at home. And you know it’s your job to fix “it.” Some of you, you feel like you just…it’s your job…you know, you’re raising a bunch of little “its.” And you feel like it’s your job to fix them. And you think, “If I could just read enough books and take enough notes and attend enough classes, then I could do my job. I could fix them.” And so you go around and your job is to fix people. Is that working for you? Is that going pretty well? People like living with you and all? Is that how that is playing out? But what happens is we find our identity in that, and we feel like their success is where we measure our success. And it puts lots of pressure on things, and it creates either a spirit of pride or a spirit of insecurity.
Or maybe the “it” in your life is not a person; maybe it’s a financial situation or an addiction or a marriage or a health issue or a broken relationship or a secret sin. And the enemy whispers…and even now he will say, “You don’t need any help. You don’t need any help with this. Don’t tell anybody about it. You don’t need to let anyone know about your struggle. You don’t to let anyone know about the situation you’re in. They don’t want to help you anyway. Give it another few weeks or a few months. You can do it. You can fix it yourself. You don’t need anybody else. God doesn’t really care. There are so many other problems in the world. He doesn’t care about what you’re going through right now. You don’t need Him anyway. You can fix it yourself.”
And it’s this lie, I think, that is especially appealing to Western culture, because we put a premium on this idea of independence and of self-sufficiency. We value the self-starters and the self-sustainers. It’s us. It marks our culture. We are the resume-builders. And we’re taught from an early age that, you know, you take your achievements and you put them in a case for everybody to see; and you take your accomplishments, and you frame them and hang them on the wall. It’s a lie that seems to be embraced by our human nature. There’s something within us that really wants to believe it’s true that we can fix it ourselves.
Just think about some of the first words a child will form into a sentence. They are the words, “By myself.” Even when they can’t do it by themselves, you know, they want to try. Even when they need help they want to do it by themselves.
Or what about this phrase? “I got this. I got this.” Nothing good ever comes after someone saying, “I got this.” It’s not going to end well. But let me ask you this. So, when you hear the phrase, “I got this,” if you just had to choose which gender would most often say, “I got this,” what would you say? Male or female? Male. Yeah, there seems to be consensus here.
So last week we talked about this lie the enemy will often use on women. We spoke specifically of mothers in our application that “you don’t have what it takes.” We found out that in Christ we do. But oftentimes with men he will speak this lie. It appeals to our pride. “You can fix it yourself. You don’t need any help.” And we want to agree with that. We live in kind of this DIY culture. It’s a “Do it yourself culture.”
You see this a lot on, you know, these home improvement shows these days, where a couple will come in and they want to do some kind of home remodeling project themselves. And they’re full of optimism, and then like halfway through everything goes wrong. And then it costs them all kinds of money and more time than they ever thought they would spend on it. And that seems to be the common theme. It costs them a lot more than they wanted to pay, and it takes them a lot longer than they thought it would take. And so, it is that when we insist on doing it ourselves, we just can expect it. When we should ask for help and we don’t ask for help, we’re going to find ourselves in a position that becomes increasingly costly.
And so, the Bible gives us a number of examples of how this looks when we kind of buy into this idea that we don’t need any help. And so, here’s one example. It’s Genesis chapter 16, where Abraham and Sarah are told that they’re going to have a son who will be the beginning of a great nation. But Sarah is past the age of bearing children. And so, some time passes, and she starts to think that God probably needs her help, because He’s not helping her. And so, she decides she’s going to take things into her own hands, and so here’s the plan that she comes up with in verse 2. She says to her husband, “…Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” “The young woman over here…go sleep with her. Have a child with her. Maybe that’s the way we should do this thing.” And so, Sarah ends up getting pregnant as well, and there’s all kinds of drama and conflict, as you might imagine. And even today, thousands of years later, much of the conflict between Muslims and Christians and Muslims and Jews can all be traced back to Abraham and Sarah deciding, “We can fix this ourselves. We don’t need God’s help. We can make this happen on our own.”
First Samuel 13 is another example. You have King Saul who has this—it looks like—just a really good opportunity to attack the Philistines, but the window is closing. So, he’s waiting for the priest Samuel to come and to offer sacrifices and ask God for help before going into battle. But Samuel seems to be running late, right? It just seems like Saul is going to miss his opportunity to attack the Philistines. And so, he decides he’s not going to wait for Samuel to come and ask for God’s help. He’s just going to do it himself. And this is it for Saul. God lets Saul know through Samuel that because of his defiant act of independence that he’s going to lose the kingdom. It’s going to be given to a man after God’s own heart, David.
In the New Testament you see this with the false teachers, the Judaizers. One of the primary lies of these false teachers went something like this: That Jesus is good, but He’s not good enough. You need to do it yourself. You need to do it yourself. And, you know, if you work at it hard enough, if you keep the right rules and you follow the right laws… It’s this idea that God is nice but He’s not necessary. Don’t put your trust in Jesus; put your trust in your own works and in your own efforts. And so the enemy tells us the lie that we can fix ourselves, because he knows that if we just buy into that—for, you know, a long enough time—everything is going to come crashing down. It’s going to cause significant problems and destruction.
So, here’s what happens when we buy into the lie.
One, it increases pride. “I don’t need anyone or anything else.”
You know, that is to say, the longer I go without recognizing that I need help, the higher the stakes get. There’s a sense in which a young person goes through a very difficult circumstance and realizes at a young age that they can’t do this alone, that they need help, and that’s a beautiful gift. Because the longer they wait to figure that out, the higher the stakes get. That’s why I don’t always necessarily feel too bad for young people who have to struggle through some season, some period of adversity, because it generally serves to humble them and makes them to sit up and take notice that they’re not invincible, that they really do need to rely on the help of others occasionally.
That leads us to the second consequence, and that is, when we buy into the lie, “We can fix it ourselves,” it minimizes legitimate problems or legitimate challenges. And we look at things that are difficult and we say, “Well, that’s nothing I can’t handle.”
You see, in order for us to buy the lie, “I can fix it myself,” it necessarily requires me to look at projects that need fixing through an unrealistic and blindly optimistic worldview. Because the only way I can buy this lie is to look over here at these challenges and these struggles and these problems and say, “It’s okay. They’re not that big of a deal.” And that’s what the enemy would love. The enemy would love for you to look at your drinking problem or your spending problem or your anger problem or your marriage problem or your lust problem and would love for you to think, “That’s not really…that’s not really that big of a deal.”
Next when we buy into this lie it feeds guilt, because a lot of us have this mentality: “I made the mess. I need to clean it up. I can’t clean this mess up.”
So when you kind of grow up thinking, “If you make a mess, you have to clean it up,” and then you make a mess and you can’t clean it up; you just end up carrying this weight. And that’s what the enemy will do. He will wake you up and tell you, “You can do it. You can fix this yourself.” And then you try, and you can’t, and he says, “Well, what’s wrong with you?” And so, you live with this weight, this guilt in your life.
Next, it intensifies—or maybe a better word here is worsens—it worsens the fallout. “I can’t believe I let it get this bad.”
When you believe that lie, “I can fix it myself,” and you keep believing that; the longer you believe it, the worse things are going to get in a lot of these situations. You’ll hear doctors talk about this. You know, they’ll have a patient come to them, and if they would have come when the symptoms first started to surface, then something could have been done. But they waited so long and now that they come, things are pretty overwhelming.
Here’s another consequence: It robs intimacy in our relationships. “I can’t be vulnerable enough to admit that I need help.”
You see, when I buy into the lie, “I can fix it myself,” then I don’t trust other people to help me with the challenges that I’m experiencing. And so I can tell you from personal experience, I have robbed myself, at times, from having more significant or deeper relationships because of my “I can fix it myself” mentality. Instead of trusting somebody enough to be vulnerable and to say, “I need help here,” I keep it to myself and think, “I got it. I got it.”
I’ve experienced this in my marriage—especially early on. Where I had this idea that being a man meant I didn’t need help, that I could fix the problems, that I didn’t need to talk about my struggles. You know, I wanted to come home at the end of the day and wanted to be strong. “I don’t need help. I’m here to help.” And so, I look back and I realize how much I needed help. You know, I needed my wife’s wisdom. I needed my wife’s discernment. I needed my wife to speak into different situations, but I didn’t tell her about it. I didn’t trust myself to be vulnerable enough to talk to her about that stuff. And you know, I look back and I think, “How much I would have benefited from that,” but I robbed myself of it because…because I wanted to just believe, “I can fix it myself. I don’t need anybody’s help.”
But what happens when you start to ask for help? What does it do? Well, it makes that person feel valued and then it lets you feel known. So here’s somebody who knows what you’re going through, knows what you’re struggling with, and they feel valued because now they’re able to help. And what’s that do? Well, that creates intimacy in a relationship.
The last thing it does, when we buy into this lie, is it fuels hypocrisy. “I can’t let anyone know how broken things really are.”
And so, we just live with this façade. We put up a good front so that no one will know that we haven’t successfully fixed these areas and in reality, they’re all broken. And so, we live hypocritically.
And so the enemy wants that. The enemy wants us to believe this lie because he knows the damage it’ll do to our relationships. He knows the damage it’ll do to us spiritually. And some of you are reading from that script. You’re reading from it every day. You don’t need help. You can fix it yourself. But we want to be set free from that.
And so, here’s what the Hebrew writer says in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 14 through 16: “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”
So the Hebrew writer says that Jesus is our High Priest. Well, all right. That sounds nice, I guess. But it doesn’t mean that much to a lot of us. But to this audience? Huge. Huge. Because the high priest was the advocate. The high priest was the representative. The high priest was on the people’s side, speaking to God on their behalf.
And the Hebrew writer says, “This is Jesus. Jesus represents you. He is in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God, speaking to God on your behalf.” And if that’s true. I mean, if that’s true, what does that do to this lie that the enemy is constantly telling us?
In verse 15 it says he “…understands our weaknesses.”
The Greek word here understands…the NIV says sympathizes…it’s this idea that He doesn’t just watch from a distance and kind of feel what we’re going through, but He enters into it. That’s the idea. And so, it’s like the difference between turning on a television and seeing images of kids in a Third World country who are starving and having a heart for that, being moved by that… It’s the difference between that, versus going to the Third World country and living the way they live and eating what they eat. It’s entering into it. So that is to say, Jesus didn’t sit up in heaven and just tune into the sufferings here on earth and watch from a distance and think, “Oh, that’s so sad what they’re going through.” He entered into it. He felt what we feel. He’s experienced what we experience. He knows what it’s like.
So, because He knows what it’s like and because He is the High Priest and the Son of God, what does that mean? What does that truth mean? What does it look like to live by that truth?
Here’s what it says in verse 16: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Let us then approach God’s grace with confidence. Let us come boldly. It’s not like applying for a loan where you need some money but you’re not sure if you’re qualified, so you’re kind of nervous about whether or not you’ll get approved. No, that’s not the idea here. The idea is He is for you. He is on your side. And so, we come to Him with confidence. We come to Him boldly asking for help.
And so that’s the challenge that I have for you this week. If the enemy is handing you a script every day that says, “You better fix this. You need to get this right. You better fix this, and you need to fix it yourself,” you flip it and you start reading from a different script. And in this script, you claim the truth that God is for you, that God is fighting for you. You claim the truth that you can approach Him boldly to find help when you need it the most.
Now, look, it says to approach Him boldly. Some of you really need God’s help. You don’t understand why He’s not helping you. But you’re not approaching Him; you’re just kind of waiting for Him. You’re waiting for Him to come and help you. That’s not what it says. It says that you come to Him boldly.
I think part of that is that, you know, God will begin to heal what we reveal. God does not heal what we conceal. But when we reveal it, when we come to Him boldly—we say, “Here’s the mess. Here’s the struggle. Here’s the brokenness.”—and we ask for His help and we invite Him into it, God begins to redeem. God begins to heal.
And so, the enemy has handed us a script that says, “You’ve got to fix it on your own. You’ve made the mess. You need to clean it up. God doesn’t really care about your problems anyway.” And if you’ve been living by that lie, I just know enough to know that there are huge implications right now in your life. And if that’s a lie you have believed, if that’s the lie you’ve lived by—I mean, I just know that your relationships are paying a price, your spirit is paying a price, your connection with God is out of sync. Instead you tell yourself the truth: He is my High Priest.
Bishop and author, William Willimon, tells of an encounter he once had with a dying woman. He said that she was in the last stages of lung cancer, just gasping day-after-day for breath. And it was obvious she was in great pain, that she was exhausted from fighting. And he said that when he would go visit her, she clutched this crucifix that she had. She would just hold onto it daily. And he found out that the crucifix was given to her by her grandmother when she was a girl, that it was carved by a monk in Europe, and it was just this meaningful symbol of her Catholic faith and all that it meant to her. And Willimon says that when he entered the room on the last day, he could see that she was near the end. And so, he said to her, “Would you like me to pray for you? Would you like me to summon a priest?” And he says that with her last ounce of energy she held out the crucifix, which depicted the body of Christ nailed to the cross, and she said, “Thank you, but I have a priest.”
You see, this is Jesus. We talk a lot about Him as Savior and Lord, but He also wants to be your High Priest, your advocate, your representative, the person that you go to for help. When you start reading from that script—you start reading every day from the script of Hebrews chapter 4—and you claim this truth with both hands, when the enemy tries to tell you, “You can fix it yourself. You don’t need anybody’s help. God doesn’t really care,” you start telling yourself a different story. You start telling yourself the truth, because the truth is you have Jesus in heaven who represents you. He understands what you’re going through, and because He understands you can approach His throne with confidence, knowing that you will find grace and mercy when you need it the most.