I can do all things through Christ
What does it mean to have the power of Christ within you and available to you? What should that look like? Does it mean you can perform miracles like Jesus did? Should we be able to heal people, or do extraordinary things in His name? What does Philippians 4:13 mean when it says, "I can do all things?"
I am a big believer in keeping scripture in context because when we don't we can take a verse and make it mean something it wasn't intended to mean. So let's look at the verses that precede and follow Philippians 4:13.
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 has some of the most memorized verses by Christians in the New Testament. You can read the whole chapter at Biblegateway.com. Unfortunately, when we memorize our favourite verses we tend to forget the verses surrounding them, which can lead to a misunderstanding of the verse in question. We can see from Philippians 4:12 that Paul has been talking about his physical needs. He tells us that he has learned the secret to being content in any and every situation. This verse is immediately followed by Philippians 4:13, which tells us how Paul can do all things through Christ who gives him strength. In other words, it is by his ability to trust in Jesus and rest in the assurance that God will provide for those needs, that Paul is able to find strength to keep going and is able to "do all things." Those things being whatever comes Paul's way in the form of poverty or plenty.
But he also adds "in any and every situation," so we know this also encompasses whatever good times or troubles (including dangers, and we know Paul faced many) he would experience. So it is not the ability to use God's power to perform a miracle or heal someone, or do great feats in Jesus name that this verse is about. It is more about abiding in Christ and trusting Him with everything that comes our way.
Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
This verse confirms that Paul has been talking to the Philippians about his troubles and that he finds his strength through Christ, in order to be content with whatever happens to him. He adds here that the Philippians did well to share with him in his distress. They alleviated his burden. This too is how we find contentment and strength in Christ. By trusting He will move others to meet our needs.
We never know what troubles we will encounter each day, but we can rest in the knowledge that God has already provided for those needs before we even become aware of them. This is what it means to be content "in all things" and to be able to "do all things" through Christ who gives us strength.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
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