SIMPLE TRUTH: Living beyond our means

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

By Charles Christmas

The Christian life is a journey beyond our ability.

People often cry out from within, “I simply am not able to cope, to handle this responsibility, to begin again, to live without my deceased loved one, to be a good parent or grandparent, to become employable or be employed, to break this addiction, to forgive, to control my spending, to get out of debt, to control my temper, my lust or my foul mouth, to fix our marriage, to rise up out of divorce, to be a good husband, wife, son, daughter, neighbor, church member, etc.”

We begin a new series of weekly articles today about living beyond our ability. We will certainly be challenged to be diligent, to do our best and to strive for excellence, but as admirable as these personal efforts are, God calls us to a life beyond our best efforts. Consider a brief list of some people God chose as leaders in the Old Testament: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Nehemiah and Esther. He called each to live beyond personal ability.

In the New Testament, God chose a virgin, Mary, and gave her a task beyond her ability. Jesus called fishermen, businessmen, harlots, the crippled, the blind, the deaf and all to a life beyond their abilities.

The crucified, risen and living Lord, Jesus, gathered around himself a small, fearful group of followers. He gave them a humanly impossible worldwide task they were to perform, but, he said to them, “You shall do it, because I will enable you to speak, live and labor, and serve, endure and accomplish beyond your ability.”

To each person I have referred, God was saying, “You can’t, but I can, in you and through you. You are not able, but I will enable you. You can’t do it by yourself, but I will always be with you to help you.”

The Book of Acts is a record of the followers of Jesus beginning to accomplish the impossible task. Another very suitable title for this book would be “Beyond Their Ability.” The entire 28 chapters are summarized in Acts 14:27, “They reported all that God had done with them.” A theme of all 13 books of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament is “Living Beyond Our Ability.”

Life becomes satisfying, fulfilling and exciting when we experience God doing in us, with us, through us, for us and around us that which is beyond our ability. As we begin this new series together, as unworthy as we are, let us speak the word of faith and believe that God will actually do “exceeding abundantly above all we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us. Unto Him be glory in the church!”

The title of next Thursday’s article: “With Man It Is Impossible.”

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.