You Can’t

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“You can’t do it.  Don’t even try.”  That kind of talk is something foreign, almost surprising and grating to our ears.  More and more in schools we are told that we can do anything we put our mind to.  Inspirational speakers tell their inspirational stories about how their dreams came about when the odds seemed insurmountable.  People experiencing incredible disability and weakness often tell their harrowing story about how they picked themselves up, refused pity and made something of their lives.  We are simply told over and over again that there is nothing too difficult for us, nothing impossible for us and nothing beyond our reach if we would simply believe, try, refuse to give up or refuse to say, “I can't!” 

Such a high level of determination is good.  Perseverance is a virtue in anyone’s book.  Faith makes all of the difference.  Accepting challenge is exemplary.  And, in day-to-day functioning, this is laudable advice and testimony.  But, with regard to our salvation, this cultural “can do” spirit can be our undoing.  There are some things we cannot do.  Saving ourselves is one.  Being good enough to earn God's grace is a contradiction in terms.

There are many people who have faced incredible odds and have come out on top who know for certain their reliance upon Go.  Among them are Nick Vujicic and Joni Erickson-Tada.  They say straight out, “You can’t do this without God.”  And, “The biggest lie is the lie telling you that you can do it on your own.”  You can see and hear this warning yourself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3LFBqvvW-M at the 8:35 point of this video from Nick.  Our ability to produce the final good in our lives is beyond our self-reach. 

Truly, beyond the need for God’s grace for our salvation, we have a daily need for God’s grace and love for our maturing and perfecting in every area of life.  So, as much as we might not like the sentences at the beginning of this blog because they seem to speak of limitation, we should find comfort in them.  “You can’t do it.  Don’t even try.”  But, carnal pride tries anyway.  Many have even read the Bible in a cut-and-paste way.  I have heard people say and songs affirm “All things are possible” and “I can do all things,” leaving the rest of the verses out (Mark 10:27; Philippians 4:13).  The verses actually say, “All things are possible with God” and “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  Nothing is too big, too hard, too imposing, too impossible . . .  for God.  Don’t trust in a half-truth- they  are only cloaked lies.  Trust God and witness the humanly impossible. 

Matthew Thomas
By Matthew Thomas

In my sixth decade of seeing God work simply increases my faith. Born in California, raised in Washington, ministered in Washington, Oregon, Canada, Philippines, Idaho and now all over the world has given me reason to believe and praise. My wife, Marlene and four children (Luke, Mitch, Samuel and Charese) give me reason to give deep thanks. My eight beautiful grandchildren (Jalen, Jordan, Katelin, Andrew, Eli, Callia, Asher and Mikaela) give me reason to see that grace reaches beyond our immediate present into our un-conceived future. Serving with a great team in the Free Methodist Church makes me a blessed person in a blessed place, serving with blessed people.

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