From the writings of Norman-Vincent Peale starting in the 40’s to modern day psychologist, preachers, and politicians there has been a heavy emphasis on positive thinking, positive confession, and positively claiming – “I CAN!” With that being said, this blog is not an indictment on anyone or anti-anyone but it’s primarily focus is to be about me, my journey, and my Savior. For, in a culture, that primarily postures for popularity, earthly success, competition and applauds the loud “I Can’s” of the many, I have reached a cliff, crossroad or whatever you may want to call it.
And it is at this junction that I have started saying more and more in my life – “I CAN’T.”
Please do not feel sorry for me, feel ashamed for me, fret for me, or feel uncomfortable by the “word of my testimony” which starts with – “I Can’t.” (ref. Rev 12:11) It is in this response that I have found real joy, real peace, real righteousness and a real unshakable kingdom in God. (ref. Romans 14:17 & Hebrews 12:28)
For as I have set, for many years now, my heart on a pilgrimage of knowing and following Jesus Christ my experience with the Lord of glory has messed with everything from my feet, my pursuits, my thoughts, my relationships to now my tongue.
Sure I was, from very early on the progressive path of following Jesus Christ, aware of Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
But it is an entirely different thing to encounter it in your experience. To have the Lord of glory reveal His glory in what no one in their natural state of mind would even stop to applaud, investigate or even model.
Glory revealed in weakness. Glory revealed in humility. Glory revealed in brokenness. Glory revealed in poverty of spirit. Glory revealed in suffering. A babe in a manger. A King on a cross. A Lord washing His disciples feet. Glory revealed through human vessels declaring a “foolish” message. Glory ultimately revealed in the Lord of Glory that is – Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ whom the writer of Hebrews testifies regarding Him, “who being the brightness of His (God’s) glory and the express image of His person,” (Hebrews 1:3).
This process slowly tenderized and prepared my heart to a level of personally accepting and acknowledging my own weaknesses. For I have not found our culture nor often times church cultures to bring that out of people or at least me. The normative of my experience has been either the “I Can’s” or the “I’m hiding that comes from hypocrisy” like Adam and Eve in the garden. (ref. Genesis 3:7-10) Many of us professing followers of Christ have been seduced like the world to seek the “crown before the cross” as William Penn wrote about or as Peter said regarding the pattern, “beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11). There just isn’t any genuine and pure “I can’s” without first the accepting of “I can’t.” Christ only comes first in weakness.
However, acknowledging “I can’t” does not just stop there in confession but is to lead me to start boasting in those weaknesses. Boasting by the first “word of my testimony” being – I CAN’T! I have been helped in this by one who followed the path before me, before all of us here today, and modeled this as he testified, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He was Saul, later called Paul.
Paul had heard form Jesus Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What if the grace and strength you need is being hindered by the current “word of your testimony” that is – I can. For Jesus told Paul, He had grace that was sufficient but it only comes where first weakness is acknowledged. Paul then started saying, I Can’t, I can’t, I can’t to such a place that he boasted in what He could not do so that God could do what He could do.
So I have stopped saying first, “I can do all things through Christ,” until I first get honest, broken, transparent and boast in my weaknesses because only then can Christ come near so that I truly can, or appear to others that I can even though it is Christ in me and through me. (ref. Galatians 2:20)
Is this not the gospel from start to finish?
I can’t save myself, but God can.
I can’t forgive myself, but God can.
I can’t overcome my shame and guilt, but God can.
I can’t make myself righteous, but God can.
I can’t get free from these bondages, but God can do it.
I can’t forgive that person that abused me, but Christ can in me.
I can’t live worthy of the calling, but Christ can through me.
In fact, I recently told a group of disciples:
Only we you are truly clear on the situation at hand – that you can’t; are you then in a position to trust the blood and grace of Jesus Christ that can!
That not only has God chose to reveal Himself, His glory in weakness through Jesus Christ but He is also personally revealed to us and through us as we boast of what we can’t do, so that He then can do what He can do. Thus protecting in the end – He alone is worthy of the praise and adoration of mankind!
We are attracted and drawn to start with the – I can; but I see now the way of the kingdom starts first with weakness, suffering and “I Can’t.” So this is why I started saying I can’t!
What can’t you do? Will you boast in it?
I can’t love my wife.
I can’t raise my children.
I can’t pastor and plant a church.
I can’t overcome hurts and bondages.
I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…then shhhh…a whisper from the Lord…I can!
Haha! I am laughing because even when I saved this blog it saved it as “Why I Started Saying I Can,” because of the apostrophe not being allowed when saving. So there again is the reminder, there is a culture, there is a confession that is built on the shifting sand of man and not the solid rock of the kingdom of God.