One day, as I was at a dog kennel, I watched a trainer deal with two dogs of the same breed. One dog was fearless. It would do anything to get those special words of praise, the pat on the head, and a treat from the trainer. I marveled as I watched it run around an obstacle course, jump over a small pond, and roll under a fence.
The other dog was just the opposite. It seemed unable to execute any of the trainer’s commands. It just sat on the ground and stayed there, looking frightened and dejected. I asked the trainer about this, and she told me, “This dog was wounded. Its previous owner was abusive, and it scarred the dog’s memories. But I think he’ll be able to overcome these scars through training, rehabilitation, and love.”
Some of us think we can do everything by ourselves. Like the first dog, we are full of confidence. But others of us tend to get overwhelmed and lose confidence when we face even the smallest of challenges. Like the second dog, we can feel defeated before we even try to do anything.
If he were alive today, St. Paul would probably tell those of us in the first category to be more humble and recognize that all our talents and gifts come from God. He would probably tell those of us in the second category that we really can be overcomers through the Lord’s grace and power. This is what he meant when he wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Being Transformed. Doing “all things” through Christ begins with our relationship with him. It begins as we talk to him and listen for his voice. If we can do that, we’ll receive his grace and peace. His grace will then and change us and form us. It will inspire us to set our minds on what is true and noble, lovely, admirable, and right (Philippians 4:8-9). Then, all these changes will move us to deepen our prayer, which will move us to set our minds on the Lord—and the circle of growth will start all over again, taking us deeper and deeper into Christ’s love.
If the first dog I saw was a person, the circle of growth would move it to be more humble and say, “I am doing all of these things my trainer wants me to do through Christ who gives me strength.” The second dog would say, “I am going to try to do what my trainer wants me to do because Christ, who is in me, gives me strength.”
So whether you tend to be confident or anxious, let the Holy Spirit work in you. Take steps, both in prayer and in your daily life, that will help you become absolutely convinced that you can do anything in Christ. May God bless all of us with confidence and faith in the Lord!
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]