Every day the enemy seems to remind us of what we can’t do. Sometimes we remind ourselves. We all have a personal list of things we believe we can’t do or can’t be — this is “the list of I cant’s.” It goes like this: “I can’t stop doubting. I can’t stop swearing. I can’t stop this addiction. I can’t stop this behavior. I can’t control my feelings. I can’t control my responses. I can’t be a good leader. I can’t be a good father. I can’t be a good husband. I can’t be a good wife. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…” It’s a list that leaves us feeling discouraged, ashamed and restricted and even confused about how to please God.

I can tell you personally that I prayed and tried to block out the list of what I can’t do and focus on the things I can do. This didn’t work because to be  honest the list of things I can’t do is a lot longer than the things I can do. Nothing seemed to work until one day God told me to do something that made me question it at first. He told me to add something to the “list of I can’ts.” I felt God saying to me, “You want to know something you really can’t do? You can’t stop me from loving you! You can’t separate yourself from my love.”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39 NIV

I don’t know how long your personal “list of I cant’s” may be but I wanted to encourage you to add one more thing to the top of that list. You can’t separate yourself from the love of God. Ever.

When you know God loves you no matter what, that cycle of discouragement turns into encouragement. The things you were telling yourself and the things the enemy was telling you that you can’t do become a lot easier to ignore because the pressure is taken off your shoulders. It’s a lot easier pleasing someone that you know is going to love you and accept you no matter what. If you have a strict father it can be hard as a child to please him because of the pressure of failure. But if you know you have a father that loves you no matter what, the pressure to fail is lifted off your shoulders and it becomes a lot easier to please him.

We know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us no matter what, and we don’t have to be discouraged anymore when we mess up. We don’t have to worry about failure anymore. This instills a confidence in us to succeed and to truly please God. The pressure is gone! Take caution with God’s unconditional love, though. It doesn’t give us an excuse to fail him. Instead, it gives us a reason to please him. It should be the reason we wake up and pray every day, and the reason we are who we are.

Matthew Martinez

Matt Martinez is a writer for Castle Church. He lives in Norwich, attends Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic and works for Norwich Public Schools. He enjoys coaching sports and thinks Lebron James is the GOAT.

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