“You can do anything that you set your mind to.” Really? Take cover, because this is a spiritual grenade. There’s an intended target that might be hit, but there is also likely to be collateral damage. Intended target: encourage you to trust God for big things. Collateral damage: you might believe for something that isn’t a part of His promises.
Here is what the Bible says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4;13 NKJV)
I stand 5 feet and 8 inches (5’7″ according to my kids), and I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter how much I had set my mind to it or how hard I had worked, I never could have been a star in the National Basketball Association. Certainly setting goals and working hard are positive virtues, but it’s a harmful message that determination and effort are the only things between you and becoming whatever you want. I hate to break it to all of you who were drawn in by this motivational speaking concept that was so prevalent in the 70s and 80s, but it just isn’t true.
Who are the poster children for this concept? People like Michael Jordan who as a sophomore did not make varsity on his high school basketball team. The movie star who waited tables and wouldn’t give up their dream of being a star in Hollywood until finally it was achieved. So, the thing that separates the rest of us from these shining stars is determination and hard work? If I am not a movie star, a champion athlete, an astronaut, or President of the United States, then the problem is me? Nonsense! Wrong message, bad message, and a very unbiblical concept!
Here is the Biblical message for believers: you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
The key words there are “through Christ.” Those words imply “in God’s will.” This does not mean that you can name any position that your flesh desires and you will accomplish it through your own strength. On the contrary, this is another way of saying that God equips us to do all things that He calls us to do. God calls some to preach, some to teach, some to give, some to be prophets, some to serve, some to be husbands or wives, some to be dads or mothers, some to lead worship, some to encourage, some to have outrageous faith, some to lead, some to be evangelists… you get the picture.
Seek and find what God has called you to do, and know that He equips you to do it victoriously! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! The Apostle Paul, who wrote those words in a letter to the church in Philippi, was called by God to take the message of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (non-Jews). A great, dangerous, daunting, incredible task indeed. How did he do? All over the world today, billions of Christians gather in buildings, homes, underground (where it is illegal) to worship Jesus Christ, our Lord. Because Paul had great success through Jesus Christ who strengthened him. God not only called Paul, but equipped him to complete the task.
So, did you get cut from your basketball team? I’m sorry to say that you just may not be the next Michael Jordan. But here’s what I can say: whatever God has called you to be, that is even better for you. Find it, do it, and you will find true greatness in your field. You will be great, content, and filled with joy. You don’t have to be famous or the best to be great, just be what Got made you to be. Listen to Him and not to spiritual grenade tossers.