I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This is probably one of the most-quoted Scriptures in America! And yet, how often do the words, “I can’t,” come out of our mouths? “I can’t lose weight.” “I can’t get my schedule under control.” “I can’t seem to get the motivation to exercise.” … (I’m just quoting what I hear at my house; do you
say hear those kinds of things too?)
This verse can be misused; it’s not a catch-all magic formula. I can’t be a pro basketball player. I can’t become a Broadway dancer. (Maybe I could have 30 years ago, but not now LOL!) Two things need to be taken into consideration– 1) What does “through Christ” mean exactly? and 2) How does verse 12 fit in?
I heard a sermon recently that said we must emphasize the “through Christ” part of it… Not the “I” or “do” or “things.” I think sometimes we tend to say the verse as a mantra, or superstitiously, like a good luck charm! I know I tend to quote it when my mind is on a difficult “DO!” But “through Christ” is the key. And I think WE have to be fully IN Christ in order to claim this promise– steeped in His will. Doing His will. I can do all things that He calls me to do through Christ. (Not necessarily every crazy thing on my schedule, including things I’d like to do, good things, even, but ones that Christ didn’t call me to do right now!)
Wonderful as this verse is alone, I think the previous one bears examination with it, and when I read them together I get a little different perspective. I particularly like the Amplified version here:
12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.]
If you read them together, verse 13 seems to be talking more about being content and emotionally ready to face and bear up to difficult circumstances, than to cross things off our to-do lists. And herein lies the heart of the verse: While God does love us and care about the smallest details of our lives, His goal for us is Christ-likeness, and all that it entails: knowing God, loving Him; loving and serving others, etc.– that’s the main thing. The rest is extra.
So when I’m stressing out over my faith or lack thereof regarding weight loss, I have to ask myself– is this something that is “through Christ?” (Healthy weight– yes. “Ideal” weight? Maybe not.) Maybe I should be more concerned with sharing my meals with those in need, than in a special diet for myself. Or spending more time in Bible study, prayer, or fellowship, rather than researching exercise programs (please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like I’ve really done well if I’ve READ about exercising!)
Once more, dearies, I don’t have a good answer for you. Hopefully I’ve offered some food for thought, and some discussion starters! Please chime in and share your take on this great passage, or about any of our Life Lessons from Philippians posts! (Work in Harmony; Be Anxious for Nothing, and Whatever… have been the last 3 Wednesdays’ posts; if you missed them be sure to catch up!) And remember to visit A Thimble’s Worth of Wisdom and simplyjuliana and their Philippians 4 lessons too!
Thanks so much for joining me in this powerful chapter this month!