I don’t know about you, but I hate being told by someone that I “can’t” do something. “Can’t” used in the sense that something can’t be accomplished. I made a vow recently to God in a specific area of my life. I decided to spend some time fasting and praying, as ‘this vow’ would be a much needed change for me, not to mention the fact that it was a stepping stone in the right direction to move me out of an area of sin I have been struggling with and back into the closer relationship with God that I once knew. I wanted accountability and prayer partners for and throughout this process. Little did I know that one of the persons I would approach as a prayer partner, a good Christian friend of mine, would flat out tell me that I couldn’t do it!
She didn’t say “this will be a challenge”, or “with God all things are possible”, or “this is a step in the right direction, and I’ll definitely be praying along with you”; but literally “you can’t do that”.
After my initial shock, and moment of weakness in actually thinking she was right and I shouldn’t even bother to go forward with this spiritual vow/journey, the Holy Spirit began speaking to me, recalling the words of Scripture that initially prompted me to make this decision in the first place. Thank God for His Word, which truly helps us to fight against the lies of the enemy – whether they come through friend or foe, Christians or non-Christians!
Louder than anything in my ear was one of my favorite verses:
“for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ
who gives me the strength and power.”
– Philippians 4:13 (TLB)
Finally snapping back to reality (she had been going on and on with so-called supporting statements to defend her opinion), I took a deep breath, counted backwards from 10 while silently praying for the right comeback. It’s funny because just in that moment her speech seemed to come to an end, allowing me to speak.
“I’m sorry that the devil has deceived you and so many others into that pattern of thinking – with an outlook on life that people can’t change or won’t change, just because that’s been your experience with several people you’ve previously encountered. Unfortunately and realistically I can’t promise you that I or anyone else will in fact change. Only God knows. But what I can tell you is that the Bible – the Word of God – tells me, in fact it guarantees me – that I “can” do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Yes, its a well known and largely quoted verse – nevertheless, it is a truth that I stand on and live by. By myself I absolutely CANNOT do anything that pleases God – that’s in the Bible too btw. If we could, then Jesus’ wouldn’t have had to die for our sins, and we wouldn’t need Him. But because He did die for me and left His Holy Spirit to dwell in me to strengthen me to live a Christian life that in fact does please God, then through Him I absolutely CAN do anything I set my heart to do in regards to living a life that pleases God. If that isn’t true, then why am I or you a Christian at all in the first place. I mean if He can’t empower us to actually live right for Him, then what’s the point?”
Slightly baffled and momentarily quiet for about 15 seconds, she seemed to ‘get it’ but not quite. Although, she tried to retract/dress up her previous comment to make it more of a “I just meant it will be very hard for you to actually do that” kind of statement.
As I told her and as I also want to encourage my other fellow Christians – it honestly isn’t about what I can and can’t do or what you can or can’t do for God. It’s about what God can do and says He will do through us! Don’t ever let ANYONE convince you, deceive you or even unintentionally mislead you into thinking otherwise. This is why I started this blog, so that I could look at everything “in the mirror” of God’s Word – and His word is clear! So needless to say, I marched forward (and am still marching), taking the steps to enhance my personal walk with God. And guess what? If I slip, stumble, or even fall……it won’t change the fact that I “can” do it, through Christ who strengthens me – it just means I have to keep relying on Him along the way, clinging to the promises of His Word.
Just remember: you can’t cling to His promises if you don’t know what the promises are!