“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
My grandmother used to tell me, “Can’t never did anything.” Her grammar was less than perfect, but her message was clear: if you say you can’t do something you’re setting yourself up for failure. This is true in most areas of life, but not when you’re serving God. He wants us to say we can’t; when we admit we are powerless, it opens up the door for Him to do His work. It’s what He asks of us if we truly desire to serve Him.
The need for independence is one of my strongest character traits and probably my biggest flaw as a Christian. I want to do everything on my own; God wants just the opposite. Learning to say “I can’t” has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done as a Christian, but those two little words have literally changed my life. God couldn’t use me while I was struggling to do everything myself, but He’s shown me again and again the great things that can happen when I yield my plans to His and let Him do the work. He’s shown me when I’m tired and don’t feel like teaching, when I let Him do the talking and I realize that’s what He wanted me to do all along. He’s shown me when doors that I thought were locked forever swung wide open and all I had to do was walk through. He’s shown me when kids I had almost given up on turn back to Him and start living their faith. He shows me something new every day I walk by His side.
I understand now that I am, truly, incapable of doing anything worthwhile without Him. To someone who doesn’t know God, that might sound like a severe lack of self-esteem, but nothing could be farther from the truth. There is such great peace and reassurance that comes from knowing that God has enough confidence in me that He wants to use me to further His Kingdom, and that the gifts He’s given me are more precious than gold. It is only through Him that I can have true self-worth and all I have to do to attain it is say “I can’t”.