A student recently wrote that she lives by the motto and verse in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me,” which she has adapted to mean, “I Can!”
This troubles me somewhat, because it doesn’t mean “I can” as much as it means “I can through Christ.” I’m not arguing against hard work or positive thinking. But we do run up against physical, circumstantial and even spiritual limitations—some of which are designed by God to transform us and make us more like his Son. Failure is sometimes providential. And He makes his strength perfect in our weakness.
Here are a couple of examples:
- I’m 5’7′ and weigh 200 pounds. Even if I lose weight I can’t play professional basketball; it’s simply not part of God’s design for my life.
- I was recently sick for almost a year. A lot of things I could do before, I needed to depend on God and others to do for me. The thing I can do in Christ is depend on Him and others, something which was much more difficult before.
Postive thinking is important, and there is biblical warrant for it. But as Zig Zigler says, positive thinking doesn’t mean we can do anything. It does mean we can do anything better than if we thought negatively about it.
Sometimes we just can’t. But He can.