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The Limits of Ability

limitIt’s been pretty quiet around here the last few days as I was participating in and leading worship for an incredible conference this past weekend. I feel so strengthened and encouraged by what God said and did there.

One of the things God spoke to my spirit in a time of prayer last week was this:

Your ability is directly connected to your capacity to carry the Presence.

I can get so preoccupied with what I feel I can or cannot do, handle, plan for, or whatever else. I can buy the lie that my current ability is all I have access to, but there is so much more. I’m already incredibly beyond what I ever thought possible as I was a fearful and intimidated youth and now God has enabled me to both lead worship and preach.

I didn’t have that ability before, but it came through times of worship as I learned to carry His Presence.

Such is the reliance and confidence that we have through Christ toward and with reference to God.
Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. –2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (Amplified)

When you’re focused on you and what you can do, you will draw back in fear when challenged. When you find your reliance and confidence in Christ, your ability is increased because it’s His ability! The ability becomes sufficient to whatever task you encounter.

Even Jesus laid His divinity aside and accessed God just as we do (Philippians 2:6-7). The ability He displayed in understanding and explaining scriptures, working miracles, doing signs and wonders, etc.–it flowed from relationship with His Father. He spoke what He heard His Father speak and did what He saw Him do.

He didn’t have the ability because He was the Son of God. He had the ability because He was full of the Holy Spirit, full of the Presence of God.

You find yourself in an incredibly difficult situation, thinking there is no way out and you don’t have what it takes. You may just be right. There are limits to your abilities, but His Presence removes those limitations. Like the blind man receiving sight or the lame man walking again, your encounter of His Presence changes you.

When you turn around and carry that Presence, constantly increasing your capacity, you’ll change the world. I believe Jesus certainly modeled that for us!

What are your thoughts on this? What do you do when you find yourself with insufficient ability?


  1. What do you do when you find yourself with insufficient ability?

    Honestly? It depends on the task at hand. Musically, I can work my butt off to play in a style completely foreign to me, but I will have to play beyond my capabilities by accessing God in a nonverbal way if I am to come off at all as authentic -- I’m not a native Jamaican, but I can play reggae well enough to hang with, ditto funk, folk, blues and bluegrass (rock is a given, and jazz is preferred). Switch the arena to managing money, and I put up a white flag, quickly -- I leave the bill-paying to my wife. Carpentry? Brickwork? Surrender -- not to win, but to admit defeat from total lack of competence. I don’t expect -- or want -- to be expert in all things on my own, and frequently my prayers are groans. God gives me what I need, when I ask and keep asking -- but not a moment before I need it -- and Him -- desperately.
    Rick Dawson recently posted..The More Things ChangeMy Profile

    • You’re so right. We will never have ability in all things, but He will bring us ability for the challenges He leads us to. That dependence we gain through the process is priceless and beautiful. Thanks so much, Rick.

  2. I’m with you, Jason. When I lean on myself for things I fail. When I rely on His sovereignty and confess I’m subject to it, He opens the heavens along with peace, joy, and wisdom. Love the heart and passion, brother!

    • Thank you, Floyd! 🙂

  3. A post of mine later this month focuses on limits as they relate to stress, so I have definitely been thinking about this topic. We are a culture that sort of contradicts itself regarding limits. We want to push past them & constantly encourage to do so, but we also offer comforts galore so we don’t have to get uncomfortable. Confusing sometimes. Is it possible to be too aware of limits? Maybe I think I should have more ability, but I am so aware of how limited I am. The key for me regarding limits is not to feel less of a person because I have so many but to be thankful that I have more areas to more readily rely on Him? Yet, I don’t often enough. I focus on wishing I wasn’t so limited. Sounds kind of messed up, doesn’t it?
    Kari Scare recently posted..Ending the Reign of Stress in Your LifeMy Profile

    • Great points. There are so many confusing and competing ideas in the world’s views. I’ve done things I never thought possible, but it wasn’t by “pulling myself up by the bootstraps,” it was by seeking the Father. God can certainly lead us to overwhelming things, but that’s not the end of it. The world encourages the triumph of self, whether in pushing forward or staying comfortable, but following Him, we display the triumph of the Lamb. Thanks so much, Kari.

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