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 as Jesus did? Should we be able to heal people or do extraordinary things in His name? How can it help us during a world wide pandemic? What does Philippians 4:13 mean when it says, "I can do all things through Christ?"
I believe in keeping the Scriptures in context because we can take a verse and make it mean something it wasn't intended to convey when we don't. 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 ones surrounding them, leading 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 contentment 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 God will provide for those needs, that Paul can find the strength to keep going and can "do all things." Those things are 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 encompasses good times and bad. It is not the ability to use God's power to perform a miracle or heal someone or do incredible feats in Jesus' name that many misinterpret this verse to mean. It is more about abiding in Christ and trusting Him with anything that comes our way. It's learning to rest in the knowledge that God has heard us and He will answer our prayers. The secret is in learning to leave your prayers with God and trust He heard them. Something we desperately need to remember during this pandemic.
Nevertheless you have done well that
This verse confirms Paul has been talking to the Philippians about finding contentment and strength through Christ during hard times. He adds here that the Philippians did well to share with him in his distress. They alleviated his burden. This, is also how we find contentment and strength in Christ. By trusting God 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 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, with thanksgiving,
© 2014 Laura J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.