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I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

As the dad of five beautiful children ranging from age thirteen to 2, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard my children say, “I can’t”. From folding their clothes, to making more time to study for school, to trying a new sport, and just about all things in between… “I can’t” seems to be the mantra. As kids, I expect this, but it is my job to help them understand they can try. How sad is it that some of us never grow out of that mentality?

No doubt as you’ve been reading through this devotion over the last two weeks, you’ve thought to yourself: “I can’t do that”. I hope you’ll show me some patience as I challenge you again, but is it that you can’t or is it that you won’t? Often, I find that we choose words that help take away our own responsibility. If we can blame something or someone else for wrong behavior, bad choices, or a lack of Godliness in our lives… we do that.

Question: do you ever deflect this way? It might sound something like this: “I know God has called me to love my wife like Christ loves the church, but I can’t. She doesn’t respect me or submit to me.” Did you see the shift? Although the Scripture commands me as a husband to love my wife like Christ loved the church (my responsibility) I shift my lack of obedience off to her. Using this example, can you identify some “I can’t” moments in your own life? Things that you are saying “I can’t” to God but what you are really saying is “I won’t”.

Two truths are important to meditate on today: first, the One who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Your right… maybe “you can’t”, but Christ in you can. Maybe “you can’t” break free from the sin in your own power, but you aren’t fighting these things in your own power. If Christ is in you, you have all you need to experience radical transformation and victory. As a follower of Jesus it’s time to stop focusing on what you can’t do and start seeking and trusting what Christ can do.

Second, Paul reminds us that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). The Greek word for all things is pas, any guesses what it means? Pas means all, any, every, the whole. More simply, all means all and that’s all that all means. When Paul says I can do “all things”, this includes anything he does and anything he faces. I challenge you today to go back and read the context of what Paul is saying. Philippians 4:13 is so much more than an inspirational message for coffee cups and pens, it is a Biblical truth that can transform our way of thinking.

These two truths combined should help us begin to change our way of thinking. It is time to stop saying “I can’t” and start being honest about the reason we say, “I won’t”. It isn’t that you can’t change or can’t experience victory in Christ, God has already given you everything you need. So, if it isn’t that you can’t, why is it that you won’t? The answer I’ve discovered in my own life is although I can, often I won’t because it takes me out of my comfort zone. It requires more effort, time, attention, and discipline to see real, lasting change, and so it is easier to buy the lie that I can’t.

Today I heard it said this way: “nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change” (Arthur Burt). Today instead of remembering all the reasons it would be easier to say “no” to the change God is calling you to make in your life, start listing out the ways it will bless your life. Let this question of Jesus echo in your heart: Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 ESV).

Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit that I have through faith in Jesus. Lord Jesus, thank You for the strength and ability to live my life out according to Your will. Please forgive me when I fail to seek or live my life according to Your desire. Holy Spirit, I pray You would open my eyes to the ways in which I have been resisting change and that You would continue transforming me to be more like Jesus. I am thankful for the work You are doing in my life, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Categories: Devotion