PHILIPPIANS 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
OBSERVATION: Can I really do “all things” through Christ who strengthens me? If I take this Scripture and stand it alone, out of its’ context, it really causes a lot of confusion and sets one up for great disappointment in life. Can I be a center in a professional basketball team simply because I am a Christian? Can I win a gold medal in cross country skiing simply because I am a Christian? Can I get the first job I apply for simply because I am a Christian? I think the answer is obvious. At 5 feet, 9 inches tall, I doubt that a center position on the San Antonio Spurs is in my future. So what does this Scripture really mean?
The most important thing in understanding the Scriptures is context, context, context. To understand the meaning of a verse of Scripture we must understand the context of what the writer was saying before and after the verse being considered. The context of Paul’s statement was “contentment”.
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:10-11 ESV
Paul had previously commended the Philippian believers for their generosity in supporting him in his ministry. However, Paul reminds them that in every situation he has learned to be “content”. What is “contentment”? Paul gives us the answer.
“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.” Philippians 4:12 ESV
“Contentment” is defined as – “a state of happiness or satisfaction”. For the Christian it is not tied to their circumstances, it is rooted and grounded in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus told us that He gave us His Word so that we might have joy, and that our joy may be full. Jesus also reminded us that in the world we would have tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. We can have confidence and peace in any situation. And how is this possible?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 ESV
This is the context, this is the promise. It is not a carte blanche to do, become, and get everything we want in life. It is the promise of Grace that is sufficient for everything we face in life. We can be brought low, or we can abound. We can be hungry, or we can feast. In all of these situations we can find contentment in Jesus Christ for He always give us the Grace we need! He always strengthens us! He is our victory, our joy, and our peace!
Lord, thank You for Your “All Sufficient Grace”! Pour Your Grace upon me this morning and let me walk in Your Joy, Peace, and Love. Thank You that I truly can “…do all things through You…”! In Jesus Name!