Incapable: Not having the necessary ability, qualifications, or strength to perform. Some of us might even equate being "incapable" to being incompetent - lacking not only the strength, but also the knowledge behind the needed action. If you asked me to fix the engine on my car, I'd admit I am incompetent - I don't have the strength to do some of the work anymore, and I sure don't have the knowledge to know how all those pieces fit together so they work exactly as they are designed. I could go to school to learn the "how to", but it is not until I have practiced it a while that I develop some of the skill to actually say I am "good" at the task. Yet something is still lacking in the picture - I may know how it is supposed to all work, but I still am not as familiar with the engine as is the creator of the engine! The creator has the most intimate knowledge because he envisioned it before it took form, designing each "moving part" to fit together a certain way, and knew the inter-dependencies of the parts he was designing. It is this vantage point of the creator which gives him the unique position of being both capable and qualified to take the greatest care of that which he created.
When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. (Colossians 2:14 MSG)
Solomon spent a great deal of time evaluating some of the things he had encountered in life. As a matter of record, we have his conclusions in the book of Ecclesiastes. Some of this book has some pretty sad observations - almost as though he was concluding the worst with very little hope for the best. About in the middle, he pens these words: God made men and women true and upright; we’re the ones who’ve made a mess of things. (Ecclesiastes 7:29 MSG) I don't know about you, but I couldn't agree more. We certainly do make a mess of things, don't we?
I think Solomon was simply saying we don't see how all the moving parts of our lives are fit together for good, so we do a lot of adjusting without really understanding the way our creator designed for our parts to function. In reality, our lives are only functioning at their best when rightly connected to our creator - God himself. Any other connection leaves us feeling a little incompetent - simply because we might have some "developed skill" to deal with life's challenges, but we lack the intimate knowledge of how the creator envisioned us working together for his purpose.
The most important thing we need to realize is our inter-dependencies. If you are a strong-willed, mostly self-sufficient individual (like me), you probably struggle with this one a lot. We don't want to admit we cannot take care of business on our own. We don't see the missing "value" of the inter-dependencies. Let me give you a little illustration to consider the importance of the inter-dependencies God has uniquely designed in our lives. I have taken the back off of a watch on an occasion or two. What I find behind the shiny backing is an inner working of multiple tiny gears, springs, and arms. On tiny part "playing" on the strengths of another. In contrast, all those tiny parts also are dependent on the weaknesses of the others. Get just one out of position and the whole inner workings of the watch fail.
God has developed us to work best only when we are rightly positioned to allow all the inner workings to play upon the strengths of the other. For example, if our emotions are out of whack - the inner workings of our mind begin to be "played" by the emotions. Where the mind begins to go, the body is soon to follow. The body responds with all kinds of hormonal changes, slowing this function, speeding up another. In turn, we "feel" the way our emotions are leading us. The old adage, "Laughter does a heart good", it more true than we might just realize.
So, what does this all have to do with our passage today? As easily as one tiny gear is dislodged in the watch, gumming up the works of the entire watch, so is the effect of us not being rightly related to God. Sin disturbs this right relationship. The fact is, we need to have our "gears" put back into right order by the master watchmaker himself - for only he knows how all these moving parts were actually created to work. We could probably identify the one which is out of whack pretty easily - but only he knows how to get it into right position again, perfectly balanced so its inter-dependencies are played upon perfectly. In Christ, God does this for us. He brings about the ability for us to respond again to his touch in just the manner we were designed to respond from the beginning - all in the actions of the cross.
It is often in the discovery of the "hidden" inter-dependencies of our life where we discover the absolute need for the wisdom and touch of the creator to put them into right order again. Just sayin!