“What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
If you are anything like me, you experience those dark nights of the soul when you feel like your mission in life is simply impossible to live out. We are called by God to bring Him glory by preaching the Gospel with both our lips and our lives; I simply cannot tell you how many times I have missed that mark by a country mile! I sometimes secretly imagine myself like Ethan Hunt—the star of the movie played by Tom Cruise, who is always given the option to accept or refuse his mission—and telling God that I am going to sit this one out:
- Loving my wife Kim as Christ loved the church . . . all the time!
- Training my children in the way they should go . . . even when they are rebellious
- Serving the members of our congregation . . . when ministry is too demanding
In these moments of self-absorption and self-protection, God always reminds me—often through my wife, children, and fellow church members—that “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Where God calls, He also equips. He equips me in my calling as a husband. He equips me in my calling as a parent. He equips me in my calling as a minister of the Gospel. I need only take possession of His grace made available to me through my union with Jesus.
What I mean by “take possession” is that we are to appropriate the grace of God through the means of grace He has given to us—spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, fasting, Sabbath observance, etc. Jerry Bridges writes in Transforming Grace, “God has provided four principal means of [appropriating His grace]: prayer, His Word, submission to His providential workings in our lives, and the ministry of others.”
To be sure, the Holy Spirit is always at work in our lives and operates sovereignly apart from anything we do. Jesus promised His disciples that they would be “clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). Yet we are called to appropriate the grace of God by disciplining ourselves spiritually. We are commanded to “put off [our] old self . . . and to put on the new self (Ephesians 4:22, 24), to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14), and to “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:12). Yes, “it is God who works in [us] to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13), but we are to cooperate with the work of the Spirit and operate within His power, which we appropriate by faith.
Prayerfully consider: what mission or missions you are facing today that seem impossible? Are you trying to complete your mission in your strength or in His strength? The answer, to an altogether unsuspecting extent, can be found in how consistently you are actively engaged in applying the “means” He has ordained to assist you in going from mission impossible to mission possible.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!