How many times have we heard or used Phil 4:13? You know “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” or a version thereof.
It’s a verse that has been so cliché at times that it holds no meaning for me, and at other times, has held extremely deep meaning.
In today’s world of success that is based on accomplishment, I believe we tend misuse this verse.
Instead of being content no matter the circumstances as Paul explains just one verse before it, we use it as an anthem to pursue the desires of our dis-contentedness.
The danger in doing this on a regular basis is that it robs the verse of its meaning.
Paul wrote these verses while sitting in prison. He was in the middle of great adversity. I don’t believe he ever intended his words to be used as meme’s football players burst through on a Friday night or as inspiration for self-fulfillment.
Paul was saying that despite the things going on in his life that he had no control over, he could do it, get through it, and be better for it with the help of Christ.
Now, don’t hear me wrong, I’m not saying we can’t use this verse to encourage us and inspire us as we do the difficult things Christ has called us to. I just think we ought to be wary of using it as a proclamation of truth that disguises personal desire to accomplish or succeed.
If we look at the NIV version of Phil 4:13 it says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” This version qualifies the “all things” we are used to reading with the pronouns “all this” referring to all that Paul has just explained as his circumstances. It makes Paul’s proclamation clear. He’s going through some hard times, and it’s only because of the strength of Christ at work in him that he is able to continue on.
So… what is your “all this”?
Paul was in prison. Rulers wanted him dead. And,at times, Paul even felt forgotten by friends and by Jesus.
Mine, currently, is a health issue that just is and will likely always be. It keeps me tired, and I’m tempted to use it as an excuse for not pursuing all that God still has for me to do.
Each of us has our “all this” we are in the middle of. My encouragement to us today is to not let an often over used and cliché bible verse lose the meaning it held when penned.
The truth it holds is still real and powerful and alive, even if we’ve become deafened to the words over time. When infused with the power of Christ, we truly can overcome anything that life throws our way. So if, Phil 4:13 has become a bit cliché for you as it has for me, maybe some new words with the same truth can make it new and fresh for us again. ”
“Only with Christ, can I do it, get through it, and be better for it.” (Click to Tweet)
I pray that this week, what ever our “all this” is, we’d awake each morning and admit that we can’t.
That’s when where we begin to embrace that He can and rely on his strength to work in and through us.
We can do “all this” through Him who gives us strength.
What About You?
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- Leave a response in the comments below. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? If you’re still not sure what to say try answering these questions: What is your “All This” right now? Has this verse ever seemed like just a bunch of words with no meaning to you? What is it that you need to admit you just can’t right now and start claiming that He can?
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