What can you really do in your own strength? What can you accomplish all by yourself?
At first glance, it may seem like you are capable of many things. One of the world’s most common messages is that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. The bookstores are full of self-help books that promise you can succeed in ten easy steps at anything you want to as long as you follow the plan. Weight loss, business, relationships, parenting, you name it and there’s a book to help you reach your goals.
The Bible tells us we can do all things too, if we just follow the plan. But the Bible plan is much different. It says in Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. That’s the strength we can depend on, not our own.
Have you ever seen a domino toppling demonstration? The “artist” spends hours positioning dominos and other props in a design that is laid out in very precise detail. Have you ever tried it yourself? One little bump and the entire display can be ruined in a matter of seconds. All your work gone before you can appreciate any of it. And even if you do manage to complete your design and execute it perfectly, when it’s done all you have left is the pile of rubble that you need to clean up. You have had a few moments of pleasure as you see your creation fulfill its purpose and then there is nothing.
I think we can be tempted to spend much of our time here on earth trying to build elaborate domino displays. We can plan and build and feel satisfied with ourselves for our successes but in the end, if we have been doing all of it in our own strength we will have nothing to show for it. The Bible says in First Corinthians 3 that God will test our works with fire. If what we have done doesn’t pass the test we have nothing to show for all our efforts but a pile of rubble.
God is not stingy with His strength. He tells us over and over that His strength is available to us at the moment we ask. He will provide all we need to succeed at the things He has called us to do. And in the end we will have accomplished something with eternal value and not just a momentary satisfaction that leaves us with a mess to clean up.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.