Although they might seem innocent and even inspiring, some statements can have a negative impact, especially when we say them to kids. These are dangerous phrases that so many Christians believe. Here is the third one in this three-part series (links to the other two are at the end of this post):
“You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind or Heart To.”
This one really bothers me. I’ve heard this more than just about any other phrase uttered to kids. I need to confess to you that I believed it myself, even years after I submitted to the authority of Jesus in my life. After all, can’t we do “anything” with Jesus?
Often, after I speak at a conference on parenting, I have leaders come up and quote Philippians 4:13. They’ll say, “What about I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?” Can’t anyone with great faith do ‘anything?’” Others have quoted verses from Matthew 17, which seem to indicate that you can “do anything,” like move a mountain. I always follow these verses with this question: “If you have faith, can you become Jesus?” The question raises hairs, but it makes the point. There is always context to the text of the Bible.
Here is the truth in these verses of Scripture: When we walk with Jesus, what we “want to do with our lives” or anything we “set our heart to” has a qualifier. These verses assume that your motives are within the will of God. I’ve struggled so much with this idea because I believe that our children have more potential than any recent generation. I want to believe that they can do anything that they want to do.
In reality, however, and what I want the most, is for them to follow Jesus with their whole hearts. So, I’ve recently modified this saying, even with my own children. I say, “You can do anything that God wants you to do.” That’s the truth. After all, God actually can do anything that He wants to do in us. The question is, “Are we teaching our kids to make themselves available to Him?”
Jeffrey Reed serves as the Director of Kids Ministry for LifeWay. He came to LifeWay with a wide variety of ministry experiences including worship leader, director of children’s ministry, and executive leadership in several growing congregations. Jeffrey’s posts will give your heart and brain a workout, just like the fitness Boot Camp he leads in the mornings for LifeWay employees. Jeffrey and his wife Katherine have 4 kids.