August 29, 2023
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I'll bet you remember these familiar words, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." Sure you do. Well, I hope you do, or else you had a deprived childhood. Because most of us grew up on those words. It's that little book, The Little Engine That Could. I think Fred Flintstone must have read it to his kids. I mean it's that old. Remember, the little engine tries to make it up to the top of the mountain, with this train load of toys. It's a mountain no other train was able to navigate. And as he gets near the top, he says, "I think I can. I think I can (puff, puff, chug, chug)." Oh, I've read it so many times to my kids and my grandkids. Well, as you remember, of course, he makes it to the top of the mountain. It's a great book. It's got a great philosophy of life. It's a great confidence builder. But maybe right now you've hit a mountain that you really can't climb. Maybe you need to read that book again - or I've got an idea. How about a much better book.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Brink of 'I Think I Can't.'"
Now, about that mountain that you're having a hard time getting to the top of. And I'll tell you, I know what it is to chug up mine and not be making it. Maybe you're there. There's just too much right now. Maybe it's one of those Morton salt times - they're the ones who have the commercial "when it rains it pours." It's gotten worse before it got better. It could be you're just too tired, you're too depleted. Maybe you have in front of you a responsibility or even a ministry that looks... well, just too big for you. And you are living on the brink of "I think I can't."
Well, if it's any comfort to you, someone as strong as the great Apostle Paul was there. He recorded it in 2 Corinthians 1:8. He talks about pressure in his life. He says, "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life." Paul literally, he's on the brink of "I think I can't." He talks about the responsibilities of his ministry. In chapter 2, verse 16, he says, "Who is equal to such a task?" He's just barely hanging on... maybe just like you.
And then all of a sudden in chapter 3, verse 4, he talks about "such confidence is ours through Christ before God." Wait a minute! Where did this confidence come from? I thought you couldn't make it up the mountain, Paul.
Well, our secret is our word for today from the Word of God from 2 Corinthians 3:5. He says this, "Our competence comes from God. Not that we are confident in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, He has made us competent." Now, there's a re-appearing Greek word here that means "adequate," "qualified for," "worthy," "large enough." It's the word that John the Baptist used when he said, "I'm not worthy... " I don't deserve to untie Jesus' sandals. Paul said, "I don't deserve to be an apostle," but now he's confident.
Well, if you feel you're not adequate, you're right. If you feel like you don't deserve the position you have, right again. If you feel like you can't handle what you've got, you're right. God lets us get to those overload points so He can show us what we can't do and what He can do. The simple fact is whatever the gap between your strength and your challenge, God makes up the difference. He has made us competent.
So, my friend, draw deeply on His strength. Be honest about how desperate you are. And then proceed as if God will get you to the top of the mountain. Because He will, if you are at the brink of "I think I can't." Because then, you're at the brink of God's miraculous enabling.