Near the end of a three-year famine Elijah told his servant; "Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, there is nothing. And he said, go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man`s hand ..." (see 1 Kings 18:43-44).
The word “go up” has various applications. One of them is to rise up. Whilst growth and progress is usually what we all seek, it doesn't mean this is what will always take place in our lives. There are some things that one might be able to achieve without too much growth and other things that always seem to stretch us to new heights.
There are two words that are the driving force behind success and failure. These are "can" and "can`t".
The words "I can`t" refers to why bother trying. These words are spoken by many of us who feel we may have run into a wall because we don't see a solution. Silently or verbally we may say; "if I can`t get over this hurdle I`ll just settle with whatever life dishes out".
Before Moses and Gideon had a personal encounter with God they had an "I can`t" mind-set (see Exodus 4:10; Judges 6:15). Jeremiah 1:6 says; "O Sovereign Lord ... I can`t speak for You! I`m too young" (NLT).
With this mentality a person will be unwilling to stretch themselves towards something greater. Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah and many others in our day, rose above their limitations and stretched themselves to greater heights.
The words "I can" speak of empowerment. Scriptural examples of "I can" people were Jonathan and his armour bearer. Jonathan decided to attack the Philistines without telling his father king Saul (see 1 Samuel 14).
They were outnumbered but Jonathan and his servant have a positive attitude. In 1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan said; "Come let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised ... for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few." His servant replied in verse 7; "Go ahead. Do what you think best. I`m with you all the way" (The MSG).
David also had a "I can" mind-set. While everything he possessed was destroyed, his wives and children kidnapped and his men tried to kill him, David chose to say I can rise above this present situation. The Bible says he encouraged himself (see 1 Samuel 30:6). Another example was David`s men. Three of them decided to break through the Philistine army camp to draw water from a well for David (see 2 Samuel 23:15-16). The key in life is to realize that the most important person who influence's you everyday is yourself. Other people are valuable, but you and I are ultimately the one`s who decide whether we`ll rise up to get to the next level or stay mediocre.