The Can't Chant
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Our two-year-old grandson was really excited about the new book I bought him. We kept it at our house for his granddad to read to him. It's one of the all-time kids' bestsellers. Remember The Little Engine That Could? If so, then you remember the four words that carried that engine up and over the mountain no one thought he could climb. Remember? Say it with me if you know them, "I think I can." That's right. That part where the engine says those words over and over is my favorite part to read to my grandson, and obviously, it's his favorite part, too. When I have shown him the cover of the book, he would start his breathless, two-year-old version of the little engine's classic chant "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." I hope he'll be saying that for a long time.
Sadly, a lot of us grew up with a slightly different voice inside, "I think I can't, I think I can't." I call it the "can't chant." Maybe you've been cut down in the past, put down, or beaten down. And the way you were treated convinced you that you're inadequate, you're incompetent, and you've never really had much confidence.
So when it comes to you making a difference with your life, you think you can't. When it comes to living for Christ, or doing something for God, or being what your family needs, the old "can't chant" echoes in your heart. Coming to Christ gave you hope that you don't have to be what you've always been, that you don't have to fall down where you've always fallen down, and that you can hang on instead of giving up. But then the "can't chant" starts in again, doesn't it. And in spite of the promises of God and the power of Christ in your life, you often end up defeated and discouraged, saying, "I think I can't."
Here's the truth. It's in Philippians 4:13, our word for today from the Word of God. "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." Now if you put a period after "everything," this statement is wrong, "I can do everything." You can't. If it's up to your resources, your strength, your ability, then the "can't chant" is probably right. But what blows the lid off your limitations is the rest of the verse, "through Christ who gives me strength." Paul amplifies this is 2 Corinthians 3:5 when he says, "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God."
So what the Bible is calling you to is not some belief in some "inner strength" of yours that's going to do it, but it's confidence in Christ's strength in you...which knows not the word "can't." One of the most dramatic moments of the 2000 Olympic Games was Laura Wilkinson's incredible gold-medal win in the 10-meter platform diving event. Six months before, she had broken three bones in her right foot, so she missed two months of training. She was a long shot to medal behind the usually dominant Chinese divers. With only three dives to go, she was in fifth place. But her next dives were literally perfect, and she became the first American to win the gold in that event in 36 years.
Here's what she said on TV for all the world to hear. "The whole time I knew it was virtually impossible for me to win. But I remembered that 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' That's always been a favorite verse of mine, but this time it really meant something. It became real," she said. "I really was trying to do something that I can't do. God was with me."
So as you're facing something right now that you "can't do," would you say it until you believe it: "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." It's not about what you can do. It's about what Christ can do!