Yes! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Powerful verse. Rich theology in a short sentence. An excellent verse that come in handy when we need to pass an exam, buy a luxury car, start a business, or lose weight. But wait a minute……let’s zoom out and look at the preceding verses.
Paul is talking about his financial status and the financial support that has been renewed by the Philippians church. He says that whether they gave to him or not it didn’t matter. He wasn’t rejoicing about this because of his dire need (Philippians 4:11). Paul then goes on to explain that he has learned the secret of contentment. This contentment has come in the best of times and the worst of times. Paul was strengthened by Christ when he was broke and when he was paid (v.12). It was not about changing his circumstances but about the power that Christ gave him to live in any circumstance he found himself in. The power to do all things was the power to deal with all things with contentment.
Contrary to popular belief and usage this verse is not a claim to self interested superhuman ability. It is not a mantra for modern American definitions of success and ambition. No! It is a mantra for contentment. It runs totally against our cultural desire for more and bigger and better. This verse says it doesn’t matter if I have more or bigger or better. Christ is enough and Christ is the best. Christ is all I need. It is a claim to the supernatural strength to endure whatever life throws at you. Whether you win or lose, whether you get the job or don’t get the job, whether you got paper or you’re broke. Don’t just “do you”. Do Christ. He’ll empower you to be content.
Coming soon: My thoughts on the Bible TV series
Strength and honor!