Jeff Weddle | @anti_icher
There’s a poster at my kid’s school that shows a cat leaping from a couch to a table with a fish bowl on it. I doubt the cat can jump that far, but the poster says “Believe in yourself and you can do anything!” So, I guess the cat can jump that far.
This poster makes me wonder, “Can cats really believe in themselves?” I guess it’s possible, but I wonder what a cat who believes in himself really believes.
“Oh sure, I can jump that far! No problem because I’m Super Cat! Jumper of really far spaces! Nothing can stop me from eating that fish. I believe I can make it and I believe I can eat that fish! Woohoo! Let’s do this thing!” And off he leaps into the air, already tasting fresh fish.
I had a cat once. She was really dumb. She didn’t come when you called her. She clawed up furniture and puked everywhere. Maybe if she had believed in herself more, she could have made it to the cat box regularly.
She could have accomplished so much more in life if she had believed in herself. Perhaps she could have been in an inspiring poster too. I doubt it. She got stuck behind the refrigerator once.
I don’t think cats believe in themselves, but even if they did, what about that poor fish? What if the cat does jump that far and gets to the fishbowl with her sharp claws at the ready? If the fish believes in himself, can he escape the clutches of the cat? What does a fish believe when it believes in itself?
“I can’t leave my bowl, I can’t bite, and I can’t swim away, but I believe in myself! I believe I will sprout wings and fly far away and breathe air and, oh never mind.”
I had a pet fish once. He died after two weeks and no cat killed him or anything. Maybe I should have taught my fish to believe in himself. “You can do it little buddy. Believe in yourself and you might make it to three weeks-old!”
I bet the day this poster was made, Jim, the poster-maker guy, had to have someone else take the picture and print the poster. When he went home to his house that someone else built, his wife made him supper, and he sat on furniture someone else made. Even Jim, the “Believe in yourself and you can do anything” guy, can’t do lots of things. That’s why he’s a poster maker and not a retired millionaire with pet monkeys who serve him macaroni and cheese with cookies.
Jesus is not a self-help guru. Jesus does not tell you to believe in yourself so all your wildest dreams will come true. No, Jesus is a realist. Jesus knows you can’t do everything.
One of the big things you can’t do is stop sinning on your own. Oh sure, you can stop A SIN, but you’ll replace it with another one, like pride for having quit that one sin.
Jesus sees no point in you believing in yourself. Jesus asks you to believe in Him, the one who can raise the dead, who can turn water into wine, heal the sick and the blind. Jesus can actually do stuff; believe in Him and work with His power to accomplish what He wants you to do.
Faith in Christ is what results in true, Christ-centered, spiritual life.
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)
We are a fallen people in need of a Savior. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Faith in Him, although it won’t allow us to sprout wings and fly, will enable us to do all that He has equipped us to do.
Bad things happen when you take self-help advice from cats. Drop your wildest dreams, trust God, and do His will.
Jeff Weddle is the husband of one wife and father of three kids. He is pastor of Rhinelander Bible Church in Rhinelander, WI. He enjoys reading, writing, guitaring, and although he does not enjoy running, he tends to do that a lot, too. You can contact him on Twitter at @anti_itcher or at his blog:AntiItchMeditation.wordpress.com.