Please prepare twenty robes for the baptism we have planned for our church next month,” I requested of my head deacon.

“Pastor,” he responded, “we’ve never baptized more than six people at a time in this church. In fact, we only possess seven baptismal robes.” My head deacon was a deeply spiritual man whom I held in high esteem. But his beliefs were somewhat constrained by past experiences.

I explained to him, “I understand that this city is challenging for winning souls, and I’m aware of our limited success in the past. However, I’ve been earnestly praying for twenty souls, and I firmly believe that God will answer this prayer. Please, let’s arrange for additional baptismal robes.”

When the day of the baptism arrived, to my head deacon’s surprise, we baptized not 20 individuals but 21! It was not a lack of faith in God on his part; rather, he had been conditioned to view certain achievements as unattainable simply because they had not been accomplished before.

Limiting beliefs

Have you ever been influenced by such limiting beliefs? I commonly encounter, “Evangelism doesn’t work anymore” or “This area is too difficult; people won’t respond to the gospel.”

Are you holding on to any limiting beliefs? Sometimes, they are so deeply embedded in our subconscious that we aren’t even aware of their presence. It’s like the classic story of the elephant tied with a rope. While strolling through an elephant camp, a man noticed that the elephants were not confined within cages or constrained by chains. Their only restraint was a slender piece of rope tied to one of their legs. As he observed these massive creatures, he couldn’t help but wonder why they didn’t use their formidable strength to snap the rope and liberate themselves from the camp. Breaking free seemed entirely within their capacity, yet they remained motionless and made no attempt to escape.

Intrigued and eager to understand, the man approached a nearby trainer and inquired about the elephants’ docile behavior. The trainer offered this insight: “When they were very young and much smaller, we used the same-sized rope to secure them. At that tender age, it sufficed to keep them in place. As they matured, they became conditioned to believe that they could not break free. They still hold the false belief that the rope possesses the power to restrain them, so they never attempt to break their bonds.” The sole reason the elephants did not liberate themselves and flee from the camp was that, over time, they had embraced the limiting belief that it was impossible.

Does God want us to be limited in our service to Him? The apostle Paul says, “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Col. 1:9–11, NIV). This sounds like Christian growth without limitation.

God wants us to have “all power,” not limited power. Author Ellen G. White comments, “There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit on his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.”1 No limit. That is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of limitless possibilities.

God’s people have three essential tasks to accomplish His commission: (1) pray fervently and persistently for the Holy Spirit’s power, (2) study and understand the Bible, and (3) spread the Word of Jesus Christ to others. We are not alone in this mission. Jesus is offering us “all power” today to achieve this goal. That’s good news.

  1. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Oakland, CA: Pacific Press, 1898), 250, 251.

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Ramon J. Canals, DMin, serves as secretary of the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

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