“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- Philippians 4:13
Have you ever heard this verse in the context of accomplishing some personal goal? I have-- quite a few times. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really began to understand this verse in its correct context. Growing up attending a Christian school, I often heard this verse used to encourage me to believe that I could do well on my math test or that my soccer team could play well and win our games. Yes, God gives us abilities to do well in school and even in athletic endeavors, but that’s not the point Paul was making here in his letter to the Philippians.
One important piece of background information to note is that Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians while Paul was in jail (not from the locker room after winning the big game), so we can probably assume that Paul’s focus was not on winning some sporting event or acing a test. If we look at the verse prior to this one, we can gain a better understanding of what Paul is actually trying to convey. Philippians 4:12 says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound, In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need”. That secret is the power of Christ within him, as we see in verse thirteen.
Life brings many experiences. Most of us have not suffered like Paul did, but we all face difficulty. We have all probably experienced some level of abundance. The question is who or what do we rely upon to face these circumstances well. Do we rely on our own strength or the strength of the Holy Spirit within us?
How do we rely on the Holy Spirit? Paul tells us earlier in this very chapter: “...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) We ask! Whether you are facing abundance or need, cling to Jesus and he will give you strength to endure every circumstance.
Jess is a Jesus follower, wife to Matt, and mama to Davyd, Teddy, and Aderyn. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, being outdoors, eating good food, drinking good coffee, and crocheting anything in a straight line. You can find her other writings at jessbirdbellis.com.