I am able to do all things through the One who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NET

Ezra, hands poised above the keys, sat on the piano bench beside his teacher. This would be the first performance in front of an audience and he was ready. As he started to play, it was clear to the listeners that he was a beginner. The friends and family in attendance bobbed their heads to the correct beat in hopes that somehow their actions would help the five-year-old get back on track. But, he played on, missing notes and faltering with the count. The fact that it wasn’t perfect was completely lost on him. He played with confidence and finished his turn at the piano with a sweeping bow. Ezra beamed as he returned to his seat. Proud to have come and been a part of it all, he possessed the countenance of a job well done.

I love that boy. It’s not simply because he happens to be my grandson— although that would be enough. It is his outlook on life. He is spunky and full of mischief, but he is also ready to please and do a good job. When learning something new, he watches until he has a good idea of how it works, then throws himself into it as if he were an expert. Clearly from his piano experience, he meets each task with confidence.

Being sure of ourselves is a tricky thing. Once we lose that five-year-old I can do anything attitude, we start to avoid hard things that might bring us failure, and a success is not a success unless it is perfect. One flaw diminishes the value of the whole venture.

I love what Paul writes to the church in Philippi. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. The Aramaic Bible translates it like this: I master all things by The Messiah who empowers me. I think the real idea is we can do anything with Jesus, the One who strengthens, by our side.

The thing that is impressive about his statement, is he is writing it from a jail cell. Just before this verse, Paul says he has experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance he has learned the secret of contentment. Whether he is satisfied or hungry, has plenty or nothing, it was Jesus who provided the strength in it all.

I think the fact that Ezra’s piano teacher sat by his side had a lot to do with the confidence he had in his performance. She had encouraged him during their weekly lessons, patiently teaching him the ways of piano playing. Now, she sat next to him playing her part of the musical score that added a fullness to Ezra’s song.

Jesus does the same for us, helping us be more than we could be on our own. He fills in the rough spots with His own music as we sit by His side trying to play the notes of life.

For me, it comes down to this. I feel the same as Paul in his letter to Timothy. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, that He considered me faithful and appointed me to service. [1 Timothy 1:12 NET] This alone is enough for me to go forward with confidence. He has called me and equipped me with His strength to accomplish whatever lies ahead in this life. Don’t forget, it was never the plan to be on our own. With Jesus by our side, we will make beautiful music.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 NET

Journaling Activity
  • Write out the verses included in this post.
  • What are you confident in?
  • Do you avoid doing anything you might fail at?
  • How could embracing  an ‘I may not be able to do it, but God can’ attitude change your thinking?
  • Pray for God’s confidence.

Have a great week!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks, for sharing this relatable story about your grandson. I can just picture his chubby fingers on the keys! I’m still growing in the area of being confident. But as I grow in my relationship with Jesus, I’m learning to be confident in HIM. Your post helped solidify this even further.
    Blessings, Patty!

  2. Elihu says:

    Excellent comparison. I love your point about how the piano teacher both comforted and added fullness. Our work will never be full without Christ.

    1. Patty Schell says:

      That is for sure, Elihu. Life is simply more beautiful with Jesus. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. melanielivingreal says:

    As a piano teacher, this post really resinated with me. It’s so true of how we teach and motivate our students to play and play well. I so love to sit by my young students to boost their confidence and add a measure of grace and grit to help them finish strong. How much more does our King Jesus want us to finish strong? He’s always by our side giving us the courage and confidence we need to “play” well. Thank you for posting. And keep on playing Ezra!

  4. Heather Bock says:

    Great picture! Thank you for this! I love the thought of Jesus sitting by my side as I “play my music” for those around me.

    Heather Bock

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