“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
— Philippians 4:13
We all have tapes playing in our minds, the tapes of parents, teachers, coaches, and others telling us how inadequate we are. You probably have a phrase or two that come to mind—comments someone once made to you, comments devastating and character-forming all at the same time. You could quote them verbatim, right?
“You’re a dunce!” That’s what she said. “You’re a dunce, and I am going to fail you.” And the teacher failed Einstein in mathematics.
“I’m sorry; we don’t want you in our choir. You can’t sing, so don’t come back.” But Jerome Hines became the greatest basso profundo the Metropolitan Opera has ever known.
Many of us have horrible self-images because we believe lies rather than the truth of God. Often we’ve heard from parents or misguided authorities that we have no worth, and we buy it. We believe the lies of our past. Even our own failures mock us: “You can’t do it. Don’t you remember? You tried before, and you blew it. You even tried twice, three times, and you failed. You can’t do it.”
But those are lies. As the old maxim puts it, “God don’t make no junk.” Inspirational speaker and writer Zig Ziglar reminds us that we should learn from what he calls the “successful failures.” Walt Disney went broke seven times before he succeeded. Thomas Edison made fourteen thousand experiments that failed before he developed the incandescent light. Babe Ruth recorded the most strikeouts in the history of baseball, yet he became one of the greatest hitters of all time. Nobody remembers these men’s failures, but everybody remembers their successes. Ziglar says that a big shot is just a little shot that kept on shooting—when people or past experiences told that person that he or she couldn’t hit the mark, that person kept on shooting.
“I can do all things through Christ.” Who made that claim? Paul the Apostle—with his thorn in the flesh and his weak eyes, who was “contemptuous in his speech” and “contemptible in his talk.” The same Paul who turned the world upside down for Christ.
When you have doubts about your abilities to accomplish something, ask God to tell you the truth about who you are, about Whose you are. Then invite Him to do a great work in you and through you. Make this your motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”