Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
I once heard a powerful sermon on doing the impossible. The preacher posed the question “Does God require too much?” Of course, he gave us the solution to the seeming impossibility of meeting the expectations (doing greater works than Christ, being perfect, making disciples, etc.). They were:
1. Be in the circle of God’s will.
2. Wait for God’s timing.
3. Taks some risks. (You can’t walk on water unless you get out of the boat.)
4. Focus on Jesus.
5. Harness prayer power.
It was, as I said, a powerful message. And there was absolutely nothing about it with which I did not agree. And yet, over the following weeks I found myself composing a sequel message for my own soul.
The title of my message to myself was: Don’t Even Think About Doing the Impossible!
It wasn’t that I didn’t firmly believe that, as Paul preached, I can do all things through Christ’s strength---even the humanly impossible (Philippians 4:13). My message sequel to myself was about Thinking about doing the impossible. It was not about whether or not the impossible could be accomplished in and through me.
In my experience, when human beings think too much about doing the impossible, they have a tendency to become either petrified or proud. In the same sermon mentioned earlier, it was pointed out that there are 366 “Fear not’s” in the Bible---one for every day of the year, plus one. Pride---“getting a glide in your stride”---was also warned against.
The only way I can approach doing the impossible without becoming either petrified or proud, is not to think about how to do it, but rather to pray for the courage to let the impossible be done in and through me. When I think about (or focus on) how I can accomplish the impossible, even in Christ, I have a tendency to feel in some control of the process (which feeds pride). Especially when I have a list of steps to take to accomplish the impossible. Or, I just run the other way---petrified by the impossible.
On the other hand, if I think about (or focus on) clearing myself out of the limelight while having the courage to let God take control and do whatever He needs to in me to accomplish the impossible, I find peace instead of being either petrified or proud.
English grammar helps me understand this concept.
When I am the subject of the sentence, it reads like this: “Kathy does the impossible through Christ. Kathy does greater works than Christ in the power of the spirit.” (See proud Kathy. See Kathy get a “glide in her stride”).
But when I am just the object of the preposition it reads like this: “God does the impossible through Kathy. God does great works through Kathy. God is perfecting Kathy. God is being honored by Kathy.”
Somehow thinking as if I am the one doing the actions tempts me to pride if I have the personality that appears to be able to do them. Even thinking about being the subject of the sentence petrifies me if I don’t innately have that inner fortitude, and I avoid the concept of the impossible altogether.
Think of God as a Father who has three children who have been playing in the mud. He calls his children (humanity) in to ready them (the impossible) for a visit from the relatives (all other created beings in the universe). One child is petrified at the thought of the father’s sending him to the tub and scrubbing away the dirt, so he hides under the bed. Another child is so independent and capable that he insists on drawing his own bath and washing and dressing himself. The third child is courageous enough to let the father lead him to the tub, scrub him clean, and even button his shirt. He obediently complies, making no thought about how he looks.
When the universe relatives come to greet the three children lined up on the front porch, just imagine in your mind’s eye what they see. Petrified is still a mess, Proud has mud behind his ears, around his neck, and his shirt is buttoned wrong. But Peaceful stands their happily without even thinking about how the impossible was accomplished in and through him.