His incomparably great power for us who believe . . . is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20 NIV
You may think I’m crazy, but I actually enjoy mowing the lawn and when you can’t walk, you can’t push a lawnmower. Following foot surgery in 2012, I faced a longer than anticipated recovery. The bones didn’t heal in the three months the doctor had predicted, and I was restricted from full-weight bearing for six months. During that time, I was unable to do many of the activities that I enjoy the most. I couldn’t hike or take walks with friends and family. I couldn’t plant flowers or dig in the dirt which I’m convinced in good for the soul. I longed to be outdoors during the long June days and focused too much on what I couldn’t do. Whining “I can’t” easily led to poorly attended pity-parties.
During that extended period of forced inactivity, I asked God what He wanted me to learn. One lesson became very evident—when I focus on what I can’t do, I am blind to see what I can do. When I changed my focus from I can’t, to what was achievable with my limited mobility, God opened my eyes to see the possibilities. I found I could pull weeds sitting on my backside, although I once scooted right through a dog pile. I learned to build a website. I had time to write and teach a new Bible study book. I was definitely able to do what God wanted me to accomplish during that time.
How often do you use the words, I can’t when faced with a challenging task? Do you recognize the “incomparably great power” that is available to those who believe? I find it mind-boggling that the power that raised Christ from the dead is available to me—to all who believe.
Paul recognized that potential when he indicated, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil.4:13). Although Paul wrote roughly half of the New Testament, I cannot find a single instance where he said, “I can’t,” to something that God asked him to do. He recognized the tremendous resurrection power of God that was active in His life.
When Jesus faced the unimaginable task of taking our sins upon Himself and dying in our place, He did not say, “I can’t”. Motivated by love and strengthened by God, He chose the difficult path of obedience.
God’s plan is for His power to flow in and through believers to accomplish His ultimate purpose for us. Whenever He asks you to do something, He will empower and equip you to do it. He will never ask you to do what He won’t give you the strength to accomplish.
As Christmas approaches, is God asking you to do something difficult or challenging? Are there relationships you need to take the first step toward mending? Is there someone you need to forgive? Never forget, the power that raised Christ from the dead resides in believers. Take hold of it and choose the path of obedience.