I Can Do All Things Through Christ…
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
If I’m being completely honest, there are a few Bible verses that I just don’t really like. They seem more like a cliche and I struggle to apply them to my life. Philippians 4:13 is one of those verses. It’s overused in athletics, misused by prosperity gospel preachers, and diminished to a mantra we recite to help make all our dreams come true. I’ve seen this verse taken out of context so many times that I feel like it’s lost meaning in my own life. But I know that every word in the Bible is inspired by God and good for my instruction and training (2 Timothy 3:16), so instead of settling there, I began to study this verse.
When we truly look at the context of Philippians 4:13, we can see that it has much greater meaning and applicability than we give it credit for. This verse was written by Paul while he was in prison and is a verse about contentment. We do ourselves a disservice when we isolate verses and don’t consider the context of the surrounding verses. We cannot get the proper concept of Philippians 4:13 if we fail to look at Philippians 4:11-12:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
Paul is telling us that no matter what we have or what we face, we can be content. Our contentment doesn’t come from our circumstances. It doesn’t even come from the blessings we receive. Our contentment should be rooted in Christ alone. We are content because we have received the redeeming, saving work of Christ and His Spirit dwells within us. This is what gives us strength to do all things.
By all things, I don’t mean chase the American dream. Christ isn’t a cosmic force that gives us the ability to work harder to get what we want. This verse is the complete opposite of that! The point is we can’t do anything on our own. We must rely on Christ’s strength if we want to do anything good, holy, and righteous.
So, I don’t need to wear this verse on a shirt at the gym. I need to wear it on my lips when I need the strength to be patient with my children. We don’t need it painted on athletes faces so our team wins the game. We need it painted on our hearts so we can endure life’s losses.
Christ gives me strength to do all things.
Christ gives me strength to love my neighbor as myself.
Christ gives me strength to have joy in the midst of suffering.
Christ gives me strength to be a peacemaker in a divisive world.
Christ gives me strength to be kind to people I don’t particularly enjoy.
Christ gives me strength to maintain self-control in my words, actions, and relationships.
Christ gives me strength to ask for forgiveness.
Christ gives me strength to learn and apply His Word to my life.