“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:13
All children are told at some point that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. Some aspire to be veterinarians, some wish to become firemen, some even aspire to be the President of the United States (although if they knew that the President is generally the most hated person in the country they’d think twice–but I digress).Of course, we as adults know that everyone has limitations, but even still it’s nice to daydream sometimes–maybe I’ll own my own successful business, maybe my husband will take me on a cruise for our anniversary, maybe I’ll get the lawn mowed this weekend (hey, it’s harder for some than others!).
For church kids and adults alike, we have a bonus hope-booster in the above verse. I mean, it says right there in black and white “I can do everything,” right?
Well, sort of…
People seem to focus on the first half of the verse and think of the second half as the magic words that will make things happen. “Through Christ who gives me strength” is Churchese for “Abracadabra”. Because it’s all about us, right?
Silly humans. Trix is a breakfast cereal.
I tried reading this Scripture in the context of the passage. While it initially comes across as a random nugget of wisdom, the majority of the paragraph is Paul sharing how he has found that he is able to be content in all situations; the conclusion of the paragraph is verse 13. I’d like to propose, though, that the important part of the verse is the second half, rather than the first. As Christ gives us the strength, we can overcome obstacles.
My opinion is that the “everything” Paul refers to is everything he needs to be content–Christ gives him the strength to be patient, to show unconditional Christian love, to have perseverance despite his circumstances–good OR bad (because “good” circumstances can get us into trouble too). But the point isn’t that PAUL is loving and patient and whatnot–it’s that CHRIST gives him the strength to be all these things.
Something to think about before the next time you visit your mother-in-law… 😉
(P.S. Zombies in the resurrection story?? Check out Matthew 27:52-53. Weird stuff, I tell ya!)