Navigating the Valley

by: Jennifer Craine

Can't VS Won't

Can't VS Won't

April 9, 2020

How many times have we said I can’t do something, or we’ve heard it from the mouth of our children or someone else. Can and can’t involves the ability to do something. Sometimes there are cases where a person doesn’t have or doesn’t believe they have the physical ability to do something. However, much like this picture depicts, we see in Philippians where scripture says with Christ we can do all things.

I think often times people say can’t when what they really mean is won’t.

Won’t involves desire or should we say will, free choice.

I can’t take the trash out.
I can’t do the dishes/laundry.
I can’t finish my homework.
I can’t...

Most of us can do all of these things, we have the physical ability. We however don’t won’t to do them. It’s not our desire or it goes against our personal selfish will.

God gives us choices everyday that He leaves up to our will. We have the choice to obey Him, our parents, elders, supervisors... or we can choose not to. However, as soon as we choose not to obey, we have stepped into the sin of rebellion.

Rebellion carries a heavy weight and significant consequences. It has provoked God in the Bible to anger and bring punishment, even rejection. In 2nd Thessalonians 3 it tells us not to keep company with those that don’t obey. Though they aren’t our enemy and we should still love them and uplift them as a brother, we can’t stand by as they continue to disobey. We can’t condone such behavior. We have to leave them to the outcome of their actions, punishment/shame... until they seek forgiveness and repentance.

I think some of the biggest areas of rebellion in Christian adults today is we won’t love like God commands us to. We won’t give. We won’t serve. We won’t repent and forgive. We won’t make peace with our brother. There is still way too much division in this world. I often times think we don’t obey because much like the second picture says, it would require us to change. It’s easier to walk away and change the people around us that are iron sharpening iron, than it is to admit we need to change and to do the hard work of communication, change, repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. I also think we have become comfortable with God. We don’t fear Him as we should.

Do we think God is ok with this? That He is just going to overlook all the areas where we won’t do these things?

I think not!

The next time we go to say can’t, we need to make sure it truly is can’t and not won’t. We need to make sure we are being obedient and not rebellious.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”” I Samuel‬ ‭15:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the LORD.’ ””. Jeremiah‬ ‭28:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

““Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”” Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:26-29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” Colossians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭NKJV

“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”
‭‭ II Thessalonians‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,”
‭‭I Peter‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Philippians‬ ‭2:12-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””
‭‭ Mark‬ ‭12:29-31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

““You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.” Matthew‬ ‭5:21-25‬ ‭NKJV

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs‬ ‭22:4‬ ‭NKJV

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
II Corinthians‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬