Author: Ron Graham
It Ain't You, It Ain't Me
Who decides whether you live and whether your life is fruitful? Who gets you through the hard times and gets your life together? It ain't you.
1 Who decides whether you live?
It ain't you and it ain't me —it's Jesus. You and I may think we have time ahead of us to do what we plan. Maybe we do; maybe we don't. We cannot decide that we will live one more day, one more year, or another twenty years.
James points out that our life is a puff of steam: it exists for a little while and then vanishes. Then he remarks, "You ought to say, if the Lord wills we will live and do this or that" (James 4:15).
2 Who makes your life fruitful?
It ain't you and it ain't me —it's Jesus. You and I may think we make our own footprints to leave behind in this world. We may delude ourselves that what we make of our lives, and what fruit we bear, is up to us.
Certainly we make the choice and put in the effort to co-operate with Jesus. This synergy, however, is powered by Jesus, not by our own wisdom and strength.
When Paul talks about "bearing fruit in every good work" (Colossians 1:10). he makes it clear that we are doing so "filled with the knowledge of his will" (Colossians 1:9) and "strengthened with all power according to his glorious might" (Colossians 1:11).
3 Who makes you good?
Philippians 3:7-9, 1Peter 2:21-25
It ain't you and it ain't me —it's Jesus. Some folk think that they make themself righteous by being law abiding citizens and doing good deeds. Those things are commendable, and we ought to do them, but righteousness in God’s eyes is perfect goodness like his own.
Few of us would dare to claim perfection in our own right. Fortunately, we don't have to meet this standard on our own. Paul says, ¶ "I do not boast a righteousness of my own based on my law-keeping record".
Our righteousness comes from God. It's based on our faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9). Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice to make us perfect in God’s sight and judgment. Our righteous is based on following in the footsteps of Jesus (1Peter 2:21-25).
4 Who gets you through the tough times?
It ain't you and it ain't me —it's Jesus. Some folk bear their trials stoically and “soldier on” without complaint or bitterness. We admire people like that. Not everyone, however, acknowledges the help of a “Higher Power” in enduring tough times.
Paul expresses his weariness and lonliness in his tribulations, but shows us where his help came from: "The Lord stood by me and strengthened me... The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom..." (2Timothy 4:16-18).
5 Who gets it all together for you?
It ain't you and it ain't me —it's Jesus. After you get through a really tough time, there are pieces to pick up and your life has to be put back to rights.
Sometimes you identify with Humpty Dumpty: “All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, couldn't put Humpty together again.” But Jesus can put you back together again, and do a much better job of it than you can alone.
You can be "built up in him and established in your faith" (Colossians 2:6-7). After all, "in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).
The Man Who Thought it was He
King Nebuchadnezzar was on his palace rooftop plaza, admiring the city all around. He said, "Is this not this the great Babylon which I myself have built, as a royal residency, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty" (Daniel 4:29-30).
Nebuchadnezzar had been told by Daniel, "The Most High is ruler over all mankind and bestows power on whom he wishes" (Daniel 4:25). But Nebuchadnezzar forgot.
So Nebuchadnezzar was told, "Sovereignty has been removed from you. You will be driven away from mankind, and you will dwell with the beasts of the field. You will eat grass like cattle... until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over all mankind and bestows power on whom he wishes" (Daniel 4:31-32).
Nebuchadnezzar thought, “It's me” but he was taught, “It ain't me.”