PUTTING MY LIFE IN MY OWN HANDS
Judges 12:3, “And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?”
I Thessalonians 4:11, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;”
One of the most amazing statements made in the Bible is that statement made by Jephthah, “When I saw that ye delivered them not I put my life in my hands…” One day you will need this truth so please pay attention to this article. One of these days you are going to come to a heartache, burden, sorrow, battle, and you will need this truth.
I am not going to in this article deal with the vow of Jephthah about sacrificing the first thing that came out of the gate if God would give him the victory. I want to bring to your attention when Jephthah was fighting against the Ammonites how he was that great general conscripted by the people to fight the Ammonites. He contacted the tribe of Ephraim, one of the favored tribes in the Bible, and he told them of the battles yet the Ephramites did not come to his aid. He fought the battle for he even said; “I put my life in my hands.”
He fought the Ammonites without his own people’s help. After the victory is won, which is so often the case, the Ephramites said, “Why didn’t you come and ask us to help?” They wanted the spoils without fighting the battle. Jephthah told them that he did call for their help! “When I was at the crisis point I called for your help but you didn’t come! You didn’t show up at all!” Thus we have the statement by Jephthah; “I put my life in my own hands.”
There are two things that he did that brought the victory. He divided his problem into two areas with the first area being what he could not do about his problem or what he could not control. The second area was what he could do about his problem.
Jephthah divided his problems into two areas of what he could not control or could not fix plus what he could control or could fix. Whichever area you choose will determine your joy and success in life and victories in life. When you look at things you can’t control or you can’t fix, then you look at things you can control and you can fix, you must decide at that point where to expend your energy.
If you live in the things you can’t control or fix you will despair, complain, and have self-pity. In this area of choice you will become the victim. We have a society, which has evolved into a victim society or a victim of circumstances.
Modern psychiatrists say we need to look for the blame! Hogwash! They say you are a victim but God says let’s find a cure because you are a victor! You can live in the first area or you could choose to live in the second area?
JEPHTHAH CHOSE TO FOCUS ON WHAT HE COULD CONTROL
Jephthah chose to live in the second area. He had a problem! He faced a big problem so Jephthah divided his problem into two areas. The two areas are "What I cannot control or fix or "What I can control and fix.
Jephthah choose the second area and he focused on what he could control and what he could fix. In essence he said it will do me not one bit of good to live where I cannot control. I can blame Ephraim, I can fight Ephraim, I can write hot letters, and I could tell everyone about how Ephraim treated me but that will not accomplish one thing. Ephraim is not going fight with me and if I focus on what I cannot control I’m going to fail.
However, I can focus my energies on what I can control and put my life in my own hands! Jephthah is saying I have two good arms, two good legs, a good mind, some men who are with me, and a country that is loyal to me so I’m going to focus on what I can control!
Every problem we have can be divided into these two areas. If we choose the first we will be miserable for sure. If we choose the second area we will overcome. If I become bitter and let my enemies dominate my mind and my life I can’t control them. I can’t fix them and that will not help me.
I can’t help, encourage, and love people if I’m bitter. I can’t encourage if I am discouraged! I can’t love if I hate! I can’t focus on others if I’m focused on me! I cannot keep people from attacking me or criticizing me, but I can prove them wrong!
That is why we fight back because we are wrapped up in areas we cannot control or fix. Do not spend your life focusing on what you can’t control and fix. Spend your life focusing on what you can control and fix.
All the critics in the world cannot stop me from helping, giving, soul winning, reading my Bible, praying, giving tithes and offerings, and from supporting soul winning ministries. If I can make it after 61 years of being saved and 46 years in the ministry then you can make it too! I have made it because I do not live in area number one with things I cannot control and things I cannot fix.
Anyone can make focusing on the cure, while no one can make it focusing on what you cannot cure! Anyone can make it by focusing on what you can control or fix. No one can make it focusing on what you cannot control or fix.
Let the heathen rage! Let the critics criticize! Let the scandalizers scandalize! Let the gossips gossip! Let the attackers attack! Let the liars lie! Let the enemies hate, but you live fixing what you can control.
The truth is if you want to really get back at your enemies ignore them and do something big! Let the works speak for you! I’m going to spend my life focusing on what I can control and not on what I cannot control.
Jephthah said I’ve been betrayed by the Ephramites and I have two choices. One to spend my life becoming critical, bitter, vengeful, or I could forget about Ephraim and figure out how to win the battle and put my life in my own hands fixing that which I can control.
We also have two choices to make. You can feel sorry for yourself, get despondent, get bitter, get angry, or you could decide to expend energy in working on what you can control and ignore what you cannot control. You can cry how unfair life is or you can tackle life as it is!
Jephthah had the answer of “I put my life in my hands.”