July 16, 2020

Embrace Your Limitations

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 16, 2020

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  Matthew 26:36-39

To be human is to encounter limitations. Yet to be human is to also push against and resist those limitations at every turn. To give but one example, I’ve noticed in recent years a sharp increase in films and television shows that focus upon the human quest to transcend our limitations, especially the greatest limitation, death. And so, we imagine a future in which we live within the mind of a supercomputer, or await the medical miracle that will undo aging and free us from our inevitable end.

We must have eyes to see this for what it is- a last gasp effort to cling to control, living as masters of our own destiny. Tempting as it may be, there is no place for this in the life of a Christian. Instead, we are invited to do something radically counterintuitive, not to mention countercultural: embrace our limits.

“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).

James reminds us that seemingly contradictory realities, limitations and liberty, are actually intimately related. We see this throughout the Scriptures, but we see it profoundly in Jesus’ prayer in the garden. There we see the perfect submission of personal desires to the vision, the limits, we might say, of the Father. Jesus knows the way of the Father to be good and divinely orchestrated, even if it is a path that is incredibly difficult. The humanity of Jesus knew the pain that awaited him, and he wanted to believe there might be another way. Yet in his response we are given the words we must learn to pray day after day after day. “Not as I will, but as You will.”

To embrace your limits requires a daily decision to walk the way of the cross. It is a decision to pursue humility at every turn and at any cost. You must realize that your best laid plans may need to change, that God’s will and your own will are not always in perfect alignment. It must be emphasized, this is not a bad thing! Your limitations have the potential to awaken you to your inability to be your own savior, to find hope and healing within yourself. And so, embrace your limits and allow them to open you up to the freedom of life with God. 

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6).

Prayer

Father, thank you for the gift of limits. Teach us through them to rely on you, and as we do, may we find your laws and commands to be for our good and the way to true hope and peace, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Application

Instead of ignoring or seeking to transcend your limitations, how can you embrace your limits today as a sign of humility and trust in the love of our Lord?


Related Reading

Jeremiah 29:11; Luke 9:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Enjoy Boyd’s newest and well loved 40 day devotional book: Wisdom For Living. Wise living is all about the Lord Jesus Christ. What is His best? What is His will?


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