Our oldest grandson was just two years old and really excited about the new book I just bought him. We kept it at our house for his granddad to read to him. It’s one of the all-time kids’ bestsellers – you know – “The Little Engine That Could”? If so, then you remember the four words that carried that engine up and over the mountain no one thought he could climb. Remember? If you know them, say them with me, “I think I can.” That’s right. That part where the engine says those words over and over is my favorite part to read always to grandchildren, and obviously, it was their favorite part, too, including his. When I showed Jordan the cover of the book, he started his breathless, two-year-old version of the little engine’s classic chant, “I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…I think I can.” You know what? I was hoping he’d be saying that for a long time.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Can’t Chant.”
Sadly, a lot of us grew up with a slightly different voice inside, “I think I can’t…I think I can’t.” I call it the “can’t chant.” Maybe you’ve been cut down in the past, put down, beaten down. And the way you were treated convinced you that you were inadequate, incompetent and you’ve never really had much confidence.
So when it comes to you making a difference with your life, you think you can’t. When it comes to living for Jesus or doing something for God or being what your family needs, the old “can’t chant” echoes in your heart. Coming to Christ gave you hope that you don’t have to be what you’ve always been, that you don’t have to fall down where you’ve always fallen down, and that you can hang on instead of giving up. But then the “can’t chant” starts in again, doesn’t it. And in spite of the promises of God and the power of Christ in your life, you often end up defeated and discouraged, saying, “I think I can’t.”
Here’s the truth – it’s in Philippians 4:13, our familiar word for today from the Word of God. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Now if you put a period after “everything,” this statement is wrong – “I can do everything.” You can’t. If it’s up to your resources, your strength, your ability, then the “can’t chant” is probably right. But what blows the lid off your limitations is the rest of the verse – “through Christ who gives me strength.” Paul amplifies this in 2 Corinthians 3:5 when he says, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
So what the Bible is calling you to is not some belief, or some “inner strength” of yours that’s going to do it. It’s confidence in Christ’s strength in you…which knows not the word “can’t.”
One of the most dramatic moments of the 2000 Olympic Games was Laura Wilkinson’s incredible gold-medal win in the ten-meter platform diving event. Six months before, she had broken three bones in her right foot, so she missed months of training. She was a long shot to medal beside the usually dominant Chinese divers. With only three dives to go, she was back in fifth place. But her next dives were literally perfect, and she became the first American to win the gold in that event in 36 years.
Here’s what she said on TV for all the world to hear: “The whole time I knew it was virtually impossible for me to win. But I remembered that ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ That’s always been a favorite verse of mine, but this time it really meant something.” She said, “It became real. I really was trying to do something that I can’t do, but God was with me.”
So as you’re facing something right now that you “can’t do,” would you say that until you believe it – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” It’s not about what you can do. It’s about what Christ can do!