You Can Do It… (a big fat lie)

‎”YOU CAN DO IT” is a new age, positive thinking bunch of baloney. The truth is that “you can do it through Christ who gives you strength”. Your strength is really yours by proxy.

Jesus is the difference. An important and necessary difference.

We can do nothing without Him. In fact, we have never done anything without Him:

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'” [Acts 17:23-28]

What we say reflects what we believe. Someone who focuses on “you can do it” is implying that you have within you the power or ability to accomplish the task. But Jesus tells us;

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” [John 15:5].

Being in Christ makes a difference to what someone can and cannot do. VERBALLY acknowledging Christ makes a difference by revealing who is getting the glory for what we can do.

Someone may argue that as long as someone is a Christian/born again/saved/in Christ, he does not need to “say” or mention “through Christ”. Someone may argue that simply saying “you can do it” is the same as saying “you can do it through Christ” because you are assuming the person is in Christ (and Christ is in the person). But James disagrees. Acknowledging God’s will, even in our words, is essential:

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you OUGHT to say, “IF IT IS THE LORD’S WILL, we will live and do this or that.” [James 4:13-15]

These words are said in a chapter that follows one on the power and importance of the words we say. Words reflect belief. Our words are a product of our beliefs. What we say must reflect where our belief, conviction and confidence lies. Simply saying “You can do it” implies or communicates faith and confidence in the person. But saying “You can do it through Christ” implies and communicates faith and confidence in Jesus Christ.

You are not more than a conqueror. You are more than conquerors THROUGH Him that loved us.

So, I am sorry but I don’t believe in you, I believe in Jesus Christ.

I don’t think you can do it, I think you can do it THROUGH Christ who gives you strength.

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The Myth of Christian Balance

balanceThis life is like a pendulum (or you can look at it as a balancing scale, if you like). We are always swinging from one extreme of a pendulum to another. As many theologians will perceptively point out, we are always either in the danger of trusting in our own ability to keep the law (pelagianism) or becoming complacent in the name of surrendering to grace (antinomianism). Some people will react to complacency by urging us to be radical for Christ. Others will react to radical Christianity by urging us to be ordinary. But what if life is not really like a pendulum? What if the location of true holiness is not midway between two sinful extremes? What if we are describing logically what can only be perceived and understood spiritually? I believe that while this call to Christian balance is full of good intentions, it is often rooted in an unbiblical understanding of sin and righteousness.

BLAME IT ON ARISTOTLE

In Nicomachean Ethics, this is how Aristotle describes virtue:

“Virtue is a purposive disposition, lying in a mean that is relative to us and determined by a rational principle, by that which a prudent man would use to determine it.”

In other words, “Because practical circumstances vary a great deal, there are no absolute rules of conduct to follow. Instead, we can only observe that right conduct consists of some sort of mean between the extremes of deficiency and excess. For instance, courage consists in finding a mean between the extremes of cowardice and rashness, though the appropriate amount of courage varies from one situation to another.Continue reading The Myth of Christian Balance

When Jesus Said Goodbye

He looks at the confused faces around him. Shadows of despair cloud each face in the room. His own heart feels like lead. He doesn’t know what else to add, they don’t understand the words he speaks. Still, they fix their eyes on him;

Questioning eyes, hungry gazes, expectant faces….

goodbyeThey understand that the worst is about to happen. The one that they had been living for was leaving them. Three years is enough time to cement stubborn bonds. And these ones here are hard to break. One by one, Jesus looks at the scared faces of his disciples, huddled together like wet kittens, listening to his words of encouragement, hanging on to each parting word. And as his glance falls upon each face in the room, floodgates of memories fill up his mind, welling up his eyes, and drowning his heart with grief…

He turns to see rugged Peter clenching his fists and biting his lips, determined not to believe any word his master says. Continue reading When Jesus Said Goodbye