You CANNOT Do What Jesus Asks You To Do…
…on your own strength.
In an inflated-balloon-world puffed to the limit and full of “You Can!”, please forgive me for being the “NO-ing” needle: you CAN’T…do what Jesus asks you to do…
…on your own strength.
He intentionally asks us to do that which is impossible for us to do without Him because:
1. This keeps us humble when our sinfulness ravenously craves pride and self-worship;
2. This keeps us reliant on Him when our sinfulness wants to rely on ourselves, money, talent, hard-work, etc.–anything else BUT Jesus;
3. His reputation/fame shines brighter when He does amazing things through common equipment
A Biblical Theme of God Doing Great Things Through Weak People
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV).
“I [the apostle Paul] came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5 NIV).
“But [Jesus] said to me [the apostle Paul], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV).
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NIV).
“I [Jesus] am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:15 NIV).
And what exactly does Jesus ask of us? What are some of His commands that are impossible for us to do without Him?
A. Rejoice and be glad when people hurt us because of the fact that we love Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12);
B. Truly forgive, consistently pray for, and actively bless those who harm us (Matthew 5:43-48);
C. Store up treasure in heaven (by doing good deeds on earth); DO NOT store up treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19-21);
D. Don’t worry (Matthew 6:25-34);
E. Put Jesus’ words into practice in our daily lives (i.e. obey Him daily!) (Matthew 7:24-27);
F. Become like a little child (i.e. have faith in Jesus) in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-5);
G. Truly forgive people OVER AND OVER AGAIN when they hurt you (Matthew 18:21-22).
These are just a few of Jesus’ commands…
Please look again at the above list…
…DOES ANYONE READING THIS REALLY THINK THEY CAN DO EVEN ONE OF THOSE GENUINELY, PURELY, EFFECTIVELY, AND CONSISTENTLY WITHOUT JESUS?
So what’s God’s solution?
If we agree that without Jesus–that is, on our own strength/effort–we are powerless to do what He asks of us and if we also believe that a request from a King is not really a request (i.e. optional), then what is the solution to this conundrum?
When you are in a situation where you feel completely overwhelmed/powerless to do the good God asks you to do (or to not do the bad that you are tempted to do), please remember how God inspired people in the Bible when they were overwhelmed/powerless in situations…He reminded them that HE would be with them. That’s God’s recipe for us doing the impossible that He asks us to do–remember that HE IS WITH US and then put one wobbly foot in front of the other obeying Him.
How God Responded In The Bible
1. Think you are “too” anything to do what God asks of you? (e.g. too young, too weak, too scared, too inexperienced, too broken, too tired, too poor, too alone, too insignificant, too sinful, too old, too busy, etc.)
God’s response? “Dont be afraid of them-I am with you & will rescue you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:8)
2. Gideon gave many excuses to God regarding why he couldn’t do what God asked of him.
God’s response? “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).
3. Moses gave many excuses to God regarding why he couldn’t do what God asked of him.
God’s response? “I will help you & teach you” (Exodus 4:12).
4. Jesus told a few dozen overwhelmed disciples to share Him with the ENTIRE WORLD.
His encouragement and promise? “I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
5. In Psalm 23, why would David not fear even though he was being attacked by death on all sides?
“For You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4).
6. What was the angel’s encouragement to the teenage/unmarried girl Mary right before he told her of the great mission/honor/responsibility that God was giving her?
“The LORD is with you!” (Luke 1:28).
Jesus never said, “Succeed!” Instead, He said, “Obey.” “Success” has nothing to do w/us; we are to plant seeds & water them (i.e. obey Jesus)–God makes them grow (i.e. God is responsible for the results) (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).
May we be strengthened that Jesus Himself is with us every moment of today as we follow Him and obey Him, not to earn His love/forgiveness, but to thank Him for His love/forgiveness and to invite others to receive His free love/forgiveness as well.