Does that sting? For some, it makes them strive to do it more and prove them wrong. For others (like myself) it brings a feeling of hopelessness. But here is the fact: you cannot save yourself.The Pharisees? They took this as a challenge when Jesus told them to be perfect to get themselves into Heaven. To be absolutely perfect in every way – or turn to Him.
I don’t think you can prove Jesus wrong on this one. According to the laws of Moses, you are probably breaking like 50 laws as you read this.
See, we are taught from a very young age “You can do anything you set your mind to” but that is a lie. It just is. There are things that are impossible for man to do. Don’t you think that’s a reason that our generation does not fully understand God?
I’m not saying to run around using “can’t” as an excuse not to do things. [Matthew 19:26]. There’s hope in all things. There is hope for the barren woman (see Sarah, Abraham’s wife) and hope for the sick (see all of the healing in the Gospels and Acts). But that’s a GOD thing. And we are so focused on what WE can do.
WE can pray.
WE can read our Bibles.
WE can remove sin from our life.
WE can get closer to God.
LISTEN! NO YOU CAN’T. YOU, ALONE, CANNOT BE CLOSE TO GOD.
It is God. A patient, merciful, gracious, loving God. That works in your heart. And moves you. That leads you to the right verses. And teaches you how to pray. One that forgives your sin and sees Jesus Christ in your place. One that loves loves loves YOU. Not because you love Him but just because He does! Because He is God.
We can do anything, this generation. Or we think so. We can get a 4.8 and graduate with honors. We can save people’s lives via the internet. We can changes laws and protest. So we think that we can save ourselves. And we struggle with this so much. We can’t give up trying. We can’t give up trying to prove something to God.
But He is God! He doesn’t need us to prove anything! He accepts us exactly for what we are. He doesn’t take us thinking “What a disgusting mess. Got work to do here”. He doesn’t take us thinking “Well… I can work with this”. He REALLY does no take us saying “What a hard worker! She’d be able to save herself if she really tried, but I’ll let her depend on Me for now”. He takes the humble. The gracious. The needy. The ones crying out in hopelessness. He takes the prideful but humbles them first. He takes the “hard workers” (the ones who really are just prideful and believe they only need themselves) but breaks them first.
You cannot get yourself to God. You cannot save yourself. Maybe that is hard to hear for some of us who breeze through school or work hard enough to get because we can do anything.
Paul says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me“. He doesn’t say “I can do all things because I work really, really hard at it”. He doesn’t say “I can do all things because I’m naturally gifted and God has blessed me that way”. He can only do all things through Christ. Who strengthens him! Paul isn’t even strong enough. And Paul was a BAMF!
Paul also writes to the Romans “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”. It doesn’t say that Abraham spouted at as many children as possible (heck, that was a bad idea, remember?). But he hoped in God. And God spoke to Abraham face-to-face. But not even Abraham was good enough to do the impossible. It was made possible because he hoped in God’s promises.
We know we aren’t saved by works. But those who are “able” to do so many things in life have a difficult time realizing that the answer to “How’s your walk with God doing” isn’t “Well I read my Bible this morning and prayed on the ride here” but instead “Well, in my life, God is doing something incredible!”
Because God, alone, is incredible.