You can do it … no you can’t.

Each day when I check my email, attempts to provide interesting quotations from famous people. Today’s quotation was from a man who has accomplished some incredible feats as a body builder and politician. And yet I think he is wrong.

The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it-as long as you really believe 100 percent.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

This type of saying has been recently mimicked by Michael Phelps, the American swimmer who won eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympics. But is it true? I don’t think so. No matter how hard I shout, “I think I can!”, some things will never happen. And when it comes to spiritual matters, it is even more true. Consider the following quotations from Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Edward T. Welch.

If we think of sin only as overt, calculated disobedience, we will not find what we are looking for in Scripture. But sin is more than self-conscious rebellion against God. It is also a blinding power that wants to control and enslave us. … Like a cruel taskmaster, sin victimizes and controls us (John 8:34). It captures and overtakes (Gal. 6:1). In fact, there are times when we intend to do one thing but sin causes us do things we don’t want to do. Even though we may really want to change, it can seem like an overwhelming or impossible task to actually do so. … In other words, sin feels exactly like a disease. It feels as if something outside ourselves has taken over. In fact, one of Scripture’s images for sin is disease (e.g. Isa. 1:5-6). … The slavery of sin, which everyone has experienced in some way, is similar to slavery and diseases in many respects, yet there are also some critical differences. … The main difference is that the slavery of sin is one for which we are responsible, and we can be empowered by God’s grace to turn from it. (pp. 32-33)

Those are good thoughts and are an important addition to the discussion of sin and the need for God’s help to overcome long standing, sinful addictions.

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