March 13, 2007

'I can't; God can'
by Jon Walker

“I can do nothing on My own …" John 5:30 (HCSB)

 

Fellowship–A common misconception of Christian fellowship is that it simply means spending time with fellow believers: coffee and donuts, a pot-luck supper, a day at the lake. This form of fellowship is a significant part of Christ-like fellowship because God shaped us to need one another.

 

But the heart and core of Christ-like fellowship starts with the Father. We are to abandon ourselves to his purposes, and declare ourselves totally dependent upon him. Without him, we can do nothing; why, if we believe what we say we believe, would we want to do anything without him?

 

This intimate fellowship, abandonment, dependence, means we can call upon the Father when we are in distress or when we are tempted, and he will provide more than just a celestial shoulder to cry on.

 

Now understand this significant sequence: You must confess 'I can't' before you can agree 'God can.' The danger is: If we rush past 'I can't,' we'll never fully embrace the truth that our rescue can only come from God.

 

Instead we'll continue to think there is still some way we can rescue ourselves. We'll still, wrongly, believe we can do some things — anything — apart from God. We'll start to believe that, if we keep all the rules (which is impossible) — or even some of the rules — then we've somehow made ourselves into good little Christians.

 

The irony is that this 'I can' living looks real good. The apostle Paul even says there's a certain glory to it because it's reflective of God's Spirit (2 Corinthians 3).

 

But these rules we keep are merely a ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9) designed to get us to finally admit 'I can't' and only 'God can.' They're a school of Christ meant to show us that we're not as strong as we pretend to be, that there is a limit to how well we can carry out the rules apart from God.

 

Being Spirit-led (abandoned to God) means you recognize that the rules written on stone are outside us and, therefore, inferior to God's full plan — which is to write the new rules on our hearts with his very own hand. He's placed his Spirit inside us in order to change us from the inside out.

 

My prayer is that you and I will no longer slow the progress of God's hand-written note upon our hearts because we're so busy keeping rules that were meant to bring us into fellowship with God. In other words, we're so busy pursuing rules that we stop pursuing God.

 

So what does this mean to me? If there is an area of your life where you still think 'I can,' then it means you are also saying, 'God can't.' This is not a statement of condemnation; rather it is a message of relief. You don't have to do it on your own; your fellowship with God will provide the grace and strength you need for anything. God wants a deep, intimate fellowship with you. In what ways does your independence keep that from happening? Isn't it time to get out of God's way and let him transform your heart?

 

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.

 

  

Editor’s note: Over the past three years, John Fischer has written these devotionals with insight and clarity, both as a ministry to you and as an act of worship to God. His ability to communicate biblical truths in a fresh, unique way has reflected his love for God and his obedience to Christ's commands. We will be forever grateful for the eternal investment John made through these devotionals. You can keep up with his activities at http://www.fischtank.com.

 

Jon Walker is a pastor-advocate living in Southern California and the former pastor of communications at Saddleback Church.

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© 2007 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.