In North America we are encouraged to have a “can do” mentality. One of the most popular themes in books and magazines is the “How to…” theme. You can find out how to lose weight, put on muscle, raise your kids, have a good marriage, buy a beachfront property, prepare for retirement, be a confident person, and on and on it goes.
Unfortunately, this mentality is just as popular in the church, even though its Lord said, “Apart from me you can do nothing”. Zero. Squat. Naddah. Yet over and over we do not believe that. We decide what he wants and think we can do it. Do we need to grow? Can do. Raise money? Can do. Have an impact on our community? Can do. Make disciples? Can do. If it isn’t the pastor and leaders who have the “can do” attitude it is people in the church who think they know how the leaders can do it.
I know what you are thinking: Didn’t the apostle Paul say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”? Yes, but there is the problem. We do things in our own strength and assume that Christ will be there in his. He’s happy, we think, just to see us trying. He’s content to follow us, do things our way, at our pace, and whether we wait persistently on him or not. We assume his strength is with us (isn’t he all about love and grace) whether we are pure or not, fight with each other or not, walk daily in the Spirit or not, read our Bibles or not, have acknowledged and repented of church sins or not, give everything to him or not, pray as a church or not. But if the North American church is an example of Christ’s best strength I’m disappointed. I think he is holding back.
Isn’t it possible that a church can be “apart from” Christ more than it thinks? Perhaps if we had more of the “no can do” attitude we would wait more earnestly on his leading and stop assuming we know the way. Perhaps than we’d walk more humbly, dependently, obediently with Christ. I think then, we would sense his presence and strength in us much more and then we could honestly say, “I can do….”