Philippians 4:13– “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”
It’s here in Philippians that we come across several famous little words that many have been quick to claim but few have ever stopped to really consider. We are quick to claim these verses because we want the power that they speak of but what is interesting is that they don’t start with power but with a personal pronouncement:
- “I” – Personal
This passage is personal, it’s not about they or we but I. So many people today fail to realize that God wants to have a personal relationship with them; Paul says I. God sent His Son to die for you so that you could have a relationship with Him. Sin has separated us from God but when we come to Christ and confess our sin and call on Him to save we step into a life of faith and freedom. Instead of being at war with God we get to walk with Him. It’s here that Paul reminds us that it is personal and it’s about people. God wants to work in and through you to reach people. Sometimes God uses angels, on occasion, he used an animal. But almost always God calls people, He invites I to influence the world. What about you where are you at, for Paul it was personal and he responded to God’s call I, not somebody else. Second Paul says:
- “Can do” – Productive
“Can do” So often we look around and we see what others can do and we say I could never or I can’t. So many of us focus on the problems and fail to see the possibilities. When you go to a scrap yard and look around at first all you see is junk, the scrap, and the left overs. But what we may see as a problem to get rid of someone else sees as a profit. Hidden in the trash is the treasure. You see the productivity of “can do” is more than just positive thinking it is a promise. God has moved mountains, toppled kingdoms, and turned the world upside down through ordinary people who believe in the “possibilities and the promises. What about you do you have an I can, or an I could if mentality? Third Paul points the potential as he says:
- “All things” – Potential
This is the potential of faith “all things.” Do you see the scope of our Savior, He includes all things, not something’s. You see with God nothing is impossible even using a lowly servant girl named Mary to be the vessel to bring His Son into the world to die for our sins. All things is a massive promise made by a mighty God, but it’s not the only all things promise in the Bible. Look at these “alls”?
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Do you see the potential that when we give our lives to God the limits are removed for the redeemed. When we live for the Lord we don’t have to live in the limits. Fourth Paul reminds us of the power as he says:
- “Through Christ” – Power
This last phrase is the key. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This final phrase reveals the true power of faith. Again it’s not the power of positive thinking, this is not some kind of pull yourself up by your bootstraps slogan. It isn’t a promise that you can do anything if you dream big dreams and reach for the stars. The power and the secret is that it’s not about you but the One who is in you. The power is in Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Unless Jesus Christ is in you, unless he is the Lord of your life, you have no promise of God’s power. There is no guarantee of personal or spiritual success. Even if you do get ahead in this world, it won’t matter in a hundred years. As Jesus warned his disciples, “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” The truth is “all things through Christ” or a few things through me. The real power and strength are seen not in life but in death. Because Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross, the I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength includes rising from the dead. Now there have been many who have memorized Philippians 4:13 but have forgotten the context and the circumstances surrounding it. Paul penned these words from personal experience, he knew what he was talking about. He knew Christ was the Lord of all circumstances, not just the good ones. Listen to the context, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” Philippians 4:11-12. Then he adds, “I can do all things through Christ.” Paul is reminding us that we can do ALL THINGS, not just the easy things, not just the things that everyone else is doing, not just the things you have always done but the things Christ has planned for you. These seven little words are packed with promise. Remember them, believe them, but most of all live them.