I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Wow! What a statement! I can do all things, not some things, but all things through Christ! It works kind of like this. Once, when Michael Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls, he had a game where he scored 65 points. They were so far ahead, at the end of the game the coach cleared the bench and put in all the guys who never got to play. The sub who replaced Jordon scored one point on a free throw. Later, he was asked about his most memorable experience in basketball. He said, “It was the night that Michael Jordan and I scored 66 points.”
That’s how it works. “I can do all things through Christ…” Look at what Jesus and I accomplished together! When something good happens, we all know who really gets the credit.
The two most important words in the above verse are “through Christ.” They may also be the hardest two word n s in the verse, especially for us “Type A” personalities whose tendency is to act first and pray later.
In November I was privileged to attend an Exponential church multiplication cohort with my fellow District Superintendents. One of the themes that kept coming up over and over again is that nothing happens without fasting and prayer. Nothing??? Yeah, nothing. If I want the supernatural strength that comes “through Christ”, prayer and fasting is a prerequisite.
In his classic book, Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders writes,
“…strange paradox, most of us are plagued with a subtle aversion to praying. We do not naturally delight in drawing near to God. We pay lip service to the delight and potency and value of prayer. We assert that it is an indispensable adjunct of mature spiritual life. We know that it is constantly enjoined and exemplified in the Scriptures. But, in spite of it all, too often we fail to pray.”
And he’s right. Many of us pay lip service to the value and importance of prayer, but when it comes right down to it, we don’t pray. At least not like we should.
God has called us to change the makeup of eternity in the upper Midwest by multiplying until we have a transforming presence in every zip code. That vision is too big to accomplish through human effort, so, as I go into the year 2020, my resolution is to strengthen my prayer life by fasting weekly. I challenge you to join me and I invite you to hold me accountable.
Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what Jesus accomplishes through us in 2020!