Wednesday, 1 March 2017
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
This verse is not merely a stand-alone thought, but is given as a result of the previous verse. Taken together, they read –
“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This is important to consider, because we cannot really “do all things” through Christ. We can only do those things which Christ allows us to do, and which He provides for us to do. Paul did not heal Trophimus when he was sick (2 Timothy 4:20). There are many things which Paul “could not do” which are recorded in the Bible. And so, to use this verse as a means of claiming stuff in Jesus’ name is wholly inappropriate.
Rather, his thought is that he can endure all things; he can suffer through all things; and he has been given strength in all things concerning his situation – whatever that may be. It is Christ who gives him the ability to do this.
Understanding this, we can apply his words to our own walk, knowing that he is setting the example for us. We can endure through any and all trials that come our way. We can be strengthened through times of temptation, thus not yielding to its pressure. We can stand calmly as the world spins out of control around us, not fearing what others will fear. We can do these things because our hope is an eternal one. Yes, we may suffer, and suffer greatly. However, we have a hope which transcends the suffering because Christ has gone before us.
As a side note, the word “Christ” is not in many manuscripts. It may have been a later addition. Those other sources state something like, “I can do all things through Him…” The intent is not changed, but if your version says this, that is the reason why.
Life application: Context matters. To take a verse out of context will inevitably result in the formation of a pretext. Keep things in context, and know that verses like this one are intended to strengthen us for our walk filled with trials, not pave the way for a walk without them.
Lord God, because of Christ who has gone before us, we can have the strength and the resolve to endure through any trial we may face. He has already faced much worse, and He has prevailed over them – raised to eternal life. There is nothing that this world can bring against us which can separate us from Him, and so there is nothing for us to fear in the meantime. We have an eternal hope – guaranteed through the work of Christ. Thank You for this marvelous surety that we possess because of Him! Amen.